Here is empirical evidence that we cheat our children when we cut enrichment electives from the curriculum. A major study reported in the journal Psychology of Music, via ScienceDaily, reveals that students who have music education "display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers..."
The tragedy in Louisiana - and across the nation - is that we dedicate the bulk of our resources to narrowly focused curricula aimed at passing standardized tests. We've suspected that a relentless drive toward a statistical goal sucks the joy out of learning. Now we have evidence that it also impedes learning.