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Arts in education: prioritise, don't cut

By Neve Spicer - posted Thursday, 24 September 2020

Children are a natural fit in the arts classroom. Most quickly take a shine to opportunities to express themselves and use diverse learning styles, and art, music, and theatre classes are quick to come up when kids are asked about their favourite subjects.

While it's easy to posit that this fondness might stem from a reduction in academic rigor in arts curriculum, scientific studies have revealed that kids are improving a significant number of skills while studying art -- in fact, some of the benefits of art education can't be accessed as easily through traditional learning. Despite this knowledge, when the time for budget cuts comes around, arts programs are often the first to feel those tightening purse strings.

This is especially troubling when one considers some of the challenges which Australia's student averages have made evident, including a decline in both reading and mathematical literacy in Australian teens that's continued since the turn of the century. Both of these factors can be positively impacted by arts education, but these benefits are far less accessible to students who attend economically disadvantaged schools.


Based on this, it's clear that arts education isn't something to cut back on -- it's something to prioritise. The study of art doesn't just offer boosts to academic abilities, the benefits extend to matters of healthy socialization, personal development, and even physical precision.

Arts education benefitsh3

With these studies and statistics in mind, parents and educators alike may find it even more shocking that this valuable curriculum would be at the top of the list of cuts. Advocating for the important role arts education can play both in and out of the classroom is essential. Wondering how to get involved?

Becoming an arts education advocate

  • Let student art shine: One way to demonstrate the creative and personal impact that arts education has on children and communities is to take projects outside the classroom. For educators, placing work from an active art program across the campus and in local art shows and being vocal about the topic and results of arts education can increase visibility, boost student pride, and spark the desire for participation.
  • Know the legislation -- and don't be shy: In some jurisdictions, studying the legislation that surrounds educational funding can help you to pinpoint where opportunities for change exist. Emails and phone calls made to representatives and stakeholders can also be powerful, as the goal of both is to make decisions in the public's interest.


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To learn more about art education advocacy in Australia, visit National Advocates for Arts Education at

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About the Author

Neve Spicer researches and writes about parenting and child-education. She specializes in play and early child development and is determined to help parents and teachers to nurture and educate their kids in a balanced and holistic way.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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