Resolved: Budget Cuts to Art classes are justified
This is part of the *Official* Beginner Tournament ( http://www.debate.org... ).
As per the rules, first round is for acceptance only.
Round 2: opening arguments
Round 3: rebuttals, possibly new arguments
Round 4: defense of original arguments, final rebuttals, no new arguments from either side
The resolution comes down to two central questions: What are the conditions under which we call something “justified”, and do the budget cuts to art classes fulfill those conditions?
Let’s start out with a few definitions:
1 based on sound reasoning or information
2 being what is called for by accepted standards of right and wrong 
The art classes budget cuts are the direct result and fault of the education budget cuts, which are part of a larger campaign of budget cuts, which is called the Sequester, according to the White House : “about $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts”.The Sequester is the result of the President and the Congress not reaching an agreement on a plan to reduce the US deficit by $4 trillion.
The sequestration is generally responsible for the education and arts classes budget cuts.  If sequestration is not justified, then - in extension - the budget cuts to arts classes cannot gain justification out of nowhere and must be considered “not justified”.
In order to be justified by definition 1, the budget cuts must not be unreasoned. The Sequester is admittedly “arbitrary”, which means it lacks basic reason for its selections and therefore is not justified.
The Sequester is but one extreme example of the general policy of budget cuts. My research has not come up with any given reasons for specific cuts to art classes budgets. It appears that they are just cut for the sake of it, along with many other budgets. Which shows that all those budget cuts are arbitrary, for all we can tell. By definition 1, all these cuts are hence not justified.
By the second definition, in order to be justified, the budget cuts must not be unfair and undeserved.
The purpose of education is, among others, established as:
- To prepare children for citizenship
- To cultivate a skilled workforce
- To teach cultural literacy
- To help students become critical thinkers
- To help students compete in a global marketplace 
It is suspected - not ever explicitly admitted by schools, though - that art budgets are cut because ”a common cost-cutting measure is to slash funding for arts education, prioritizing what are deemed more essential subjects such as math, reading, and science.”
So, if I can show that arts classes substantially aid the above purposes, cutting their budget must be considered undeserved and unfair, as other subjects are prioritized wrongfully.
Business expert Daniel Pink argues in his best-selling book “A Whole New Mind” that our society is now in “a Conceptual Age where our problems no longer have a single verifiable answer. [...] education is still firmly geared towards the needs of the Information Age, a quickly disappearing era. It’s as if our children are moving along an assembly line, where we diligently instill math, reading, and science skills and then test them [...] Today, a successful member of society must bring something different to the table. Individuals are valued for their unique contributions and their ability to think creatively, take initiative and incorporate a global perspective into their decisions.” 
Online Colleges has compiled no less than ten scientific studies that support art education. 
According to those, art education:
- increases performance in reading, writing and math. Thus enhancing all those subjects that are most often deemed “more important”. Specifically, “students who received more arts education did better on standardized tests, improved their social skills and were more motivated than those who had reduced or no access”, based on 62 studies.
- makes children “better on six different categories of literacy and critical thinking skills”
- “helps students improve visual analysis skills, learn from mistakes, be creative and make better critical judgments”
- “can actually help connect [children] to the larger world, ultimately improving community cohesion”.
- makes pupils “more cooperative and expressive and enjoy a better rapport with educators”, who in turn are happier and more satisfied with their jobs.
- “has a quantifiable impact on levels of delinquency, truancy and academic performance”, leading to lower dropout scores and more graduations
- “can be a valuable education reform tool, and classroom integration of creative opportunities could be key to motivating students”
- “can help rewire the brain in positive ways”, increasing fluid IQ measurably.
- is denied to more than 50% of all pupils, especially underprivileged ones who might profit the most
So art classes teach creative thinking, problem solving and focus less on competitive thinking, making our children more inclined to cooperate.  We have major problems to solve in the future that need creative solutions. Creative thinking is at the core of innovation, and with conservative energy sources running out and the demand for energy increasing ever more, we need very innovative ideas if we want to keep our way of life.
Media are also a huge business, and growing fast.  By cutting art classes, we do not prepare our children for a future in the media industry. The results are showing already. Despite the US producing one billion-dollar movie after the other, most of the visual effects which attract large audiences are outsourced to Australia, Asia and New Zealand.  This means billions in revenue and taxes going to other countries. So in cutting art classes, the US forfeits a lot of money its people could better use practically anywhere.
Art classes are a long-term investment in the future of entrepreneurship. In 2010, the director of the Arts Education Partnership reminded readers in her report:
“The arts are also defined in federal legislation as a core academic subject and an important component of a complete and competitive education [...] they must also possess a deep and broad knowledge of [...] the arts. The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce noted: ‘In fact, mastery of the arts and humanities is just as closely correlated with high earnings, and, according to our analysis, that will continue to be true. [Arts] and economics will give our students an edge just as surely as math and science will.’”
Fundamentally, if we are to assess the importance of art classes, we must also assess the importance of education as a whole.
The UN have also established the importance of education:
“Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to education”. Education is not only a right but a passport to human development. It opens doors and expands opportunities and freedoms. It contributes to fostering peace, democracy and economic growth as well as improving health and reducing poverty. The ultimate aim of Education for All (EFA) is sustainable development.”
Education for All Goals
Goal 1: Expand early childhood care and education
Goal 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all
Goal 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults
Goal 4: Increase adult literacy
Goal 5: Achieve gender parity
Goal 6: Improve the quality of education”
Cutting the education budget AT ALL is thus damaging to the basic rights of those it affects, reducing the quality of and access to education. Hence, cutting the budget of art classes is in extension also wrong on the same levels.
Let's start out with a few definitions:
1 based on sound reasoning or information
2 being what is called for by accepted standards of right and wrong 
While budget cuts are unforunate, budget cuts still happen. When budget cuts happen, art classes are often one of the first classes to suffer budget cuts. In this debate, I will be arguing that budget cuts to art classes are justified in particular, not budget cuts in general are justified.
In order for budget cuts on art classes to be justified under the first definition, they have to be based on sound reasoning or information. The most common reason why art classes suffer budget cuts is so that core classes such as English, math, and science do not suffer the budget cuts.
To quote my opponent's source: " Art education increases performance in reading, writing and math. Thus enhancing all those subjects that are most often deemed "more important" " 
This quote supports that art education is an enhancement to English, writing, and math. If budget cuts were directed to these subjects instead of art, then art classes would serve less purpose of receiving funding. Thus this supports that budget cuts to art classes is justified over budget cuts to core classes (english, math, and science.)
Furthermore, art related occupations are quite low paying (http://www.forbes.com...)
According to forbes.com, art related majors provide 5 out of 10 of the lowest paying majors, while math and science jobs are among the highest paying jobs (http://www.bls.gov...)
Also, one can get art education outside of the classroom, thus the school does not have to use its budget to pay for art classes. (Note: Due to time running out I will have to cut this round short, thank you for your time.)
I thank my opponent for posting his opening argument and hope that his time is not so scarce due to dire circumstances.
However, I need to remind my opponent that this is not an open-format debate. Round 2 was to be used for opening arguments only, rebuttals were reserved for round 3, since now my opponent has one additional round of rebuttals over me. In all fairness, he should only post original arguments in the next round to make up for this.
I also need to point out that quotations need to be marked as such. Reading this round was really taxing, due to the sudden transitions from my own text to his ideas. To make this easier on the reader, I will summarize these ideas by my opponent:
a) budget cuts are unfortunate, and my opponent feels he does not need to justify them as a whole
b) budget cuts to art classes, however, are claimed to be justified
c) art classes suffer budget cuts in order to preserve the budget of “core classes”
d) art classes enhance English, writing and math, so if we cut the budgets of the latter, art classes serve less purpose
e) art related jobs are quite low-paying, while math and science jobs are among the highest paying
f) art education can be taken outside of the classroom, so schools do not have to fund it
Point a) is Con attempting to oversimplify the debate. He doesn’t question any of my definitions, only how broadly this debate applies them. However, this is false. If budget cuts are never justified, then budget cuts to art classes are also never justified. As shown in the previous round, since the art classes budget is a subset of the education budgets, it cannot gain justification out of the blue. Thus, as he has failed to respond to my arguments showing that budget cuts are never justified, extend those points. They’re enough to win me this debate.
If all these budget cuts are admittedly unjustified, as Con has so far conceded, then so are the art classes budget cuts, negating b). My opponent does not build up an argument to prove that art classes budget cuts are “justified”, only that they are LESS UNJUSTIFIED than cuts to other budgets. It is of no consequence for this debate which budget cut is more or less unjustified. The burden of proof is on my opponent to show that the quality of “justification” is attached to the arts classes budget cuts.
Point c) relies on my source, but as I stated in my previous round, this is a rumor, an uncorroborated suspicion . There is no official reason given for the actual budget cuts to art classes anywhere. My opponent builds his claim on suspicion as if it were fact. And in fact, my opponent’s statement makes no sense at all. Arts classes cannot be cut in favor of “core classes”, since the arts themselves “are also defined in federal legislation as a core academic subject”.  How could it be reasoned to cut one core subject in favor of other core subjects? Unreasonable decisions, however, are unjustified by definition. 
Not all budget cuts will result from weighing the importance of one subject against another. Sometimes schools might lose funding as a result of shifting money into other government programs. As none of those shifts in funding can be justified, as they’re essentially mortgaging the future of our children and nation, the resulting loss of funds from arts programs is even more unjust.
Point d) accordingly rests on a false dichotomy. My opponent claims that either the art classes or one of the other core subjects has to be cut in budget, and calls the art classes cuts “fair” in some contrived way. That’s just plain wrong. If we do not arbitrarily (=unjustified, see above) cut the education budgets at all - after all, they are “unfortunate” according to my opponent - then NEITHER of the core subjects - be it English, math OR art - will serve less purpose. There are countless other ways to deal with the budget deficits apart from the arbitrary, unjust Sequester. For instance, it’s not as if ALL budgets were evenly cut. Interestingly, the NASA budget has been raised substantially, specifically “a $549 million increase to NASA above the President's request.”  The federal education funding, however, has been cut by $133 million , which means that increasing the NASA budget by a respectable $416 million ABOVE the budget the President asked for in the first place would have left enough money to keep education funding at its original level.
Surely, this arbitrary raise of one budget above the request while cutting other budgets must be considered unjustified. Giving some people money they didn’t even ask for while denying necessary help to others, who also did an excellent job, cannot be fair. It is thus clearly NOT the art classes’ fault that the budgets of other core classes are in danger. Punishing art-loving students and putting their teachers out of a job is not a justifiable answer to this blatant misallocation of funds.
I don’t even understand what point e) is trying to express. That we should abandon all careers that do not pay properly? That we should all - according to his list - strive to be “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons” ? And let our economy go to ruins for lack of nurses, aviation inspectors, power plant operators and postsecondary teachers, who all earn even LESS than a poet?  If we cut poetry, then we would by the wage argument have to cut 90% of all careers. This is beyond reason.
Art classes - this much my opponent concedes - make students better in language and science skills, thus producing BETTER scientists and doctors. By cutting art classes, we decrease the quality of our best-paid specialists. This can only mean that from this point onward, they’d have to be considered overpaid, because less qualified people do not deserve higher wages! If anything, the lower income in art careers shows that in the US, artists are not properly qualified, so they have little chance of increasing their wages. We would by that very same argument have to increase our efforts to keep US artists competitive on the international market. The US media market is the largest in the world  in spending and revenue. The US can only benefit from keeping the resources to dominate that market and not give it into foreign hands by outsourcing.
Point f) can be extended to any subject on any school level, and as such is non-unique. There’s no reason art is fundamentally easier to learn than math or English. Ultimately, any education can be acquired outside of school. Unless my opponent would like to build an argument for how all public schools should be replaced by a choice between homeschooling or no schooling, this argument should be disregarded.
Basically, my opponent’s naive outlook on this complex topic misses the entire point. We should be mainly concerned with the impact of art classes on the international competitiveness of US schools, and as such analyze the tactics of the top performing countries.
Finland has the highest international ranking in school performance. Children here do not have to take standardized tests, but are exposed to art classes as early as first grade. In combination with the studies cited last round, this clearly indicates that the long-term effects of brain stimulation through art has far more positive effects than the United States’ fixation on standardized testing in the other core subjects.
That1User forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited this round and has after that conceded the debate altogether.
That means this debate is over.
My opponent is hopefully well.
But what remains is that he provided only one rushed round with more of a rebuttal than an original argument, and after this forfeit now quit.
I thank my coach whiteflame, our organizer and host bluesteel and all the judges who have volunteered.
As with all the debates of the *Official* Beginner's Tournament, only votes by these pre-selected judges will count for the tournament. All other users are welcome to vote in the comments, but please abstain from voting.
See you all in the finals!
That1User forfeited this round.
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