good taste and aesthetic appreciation. If the eye is constantly greeted by harmonious objects, having elegance of form and color, a standard of taste naturally grows up. The effect of a tawdry, unarranged, and overdecorated environment works for the deterioration of taste, just as meager and barren surroundings starve out the desire for beauty. Against such odds, conscious teaching can hardly do more than convey second-hand information as to what others think. Such taste never becomes spontaneous and personally engrained, but remains a labored reminder of what those think to whom one has been taught to look up.This just speaks of one's surroundings; it doesn't get into curricular issues like how much art and music students can or do get. I don't need to say much about the different visual experiences one gets from a poor, run-down school versus a well-financed, well-kept-up one. There's even a vast difference at the college level, between the campuses of Princeton and Stanford, on the one hand, and some urban community colleges, on the other.
Addressing the issue of aesthetic inequality may just give conservatives another excuse to see educators as unacceptably effete liberals. Yet if the capacity to appreciate and create beauty is one of the fundamental human capacities--as I'm sure that it is--then aesthetic inequality involves a pretty basic violation of human rights. Thus, it's something we should address.