If you read the comments on the WaPo article, you'll see quite a number of people who think the arts are useless or that NPR is propaganda and should be shut down anyway (I don't think that, because NPR is hopelessly boring and if that's propaganda, it's shitty propaganda). There's also one person who declared that Shakespeare was a "commercial" artist and didn't need funding ... completely ignoring the Queen and King's patronage aspect of his career.Aside from the crack about NPR, which tells me Tom's local affiliate must be crappy, or he only listened once, Tom is pointing out the biggest problem, or perhaps a symptom of the biggest problem in education: schools are being set up to push kids through with a focus on "the basics," which are apparently reading and math, since that's what the kids are being tested on. Forget the whole student, the whole person, who we are trying to prepare for an unknown future.
Bringing this all down to education, we're all quite aware that arts education is notoriously one of the first things cut in a budget crisis. It's seen as "frivilous" by the more "practical" people in a community who don't want their tax dollars going to waste and think that they send their kids to school to read and learn math and science and take tests, not paint pretty pictures, but never see the correlation between being creative and doing well in other subjects.
I hate this bullshit.