It is no secret that the arts and music elements of education are the first to be cut. Dating back decades, the struggle to maintain funding for arts education has been an ongoing one. As printed in the NY Times article in 1993, educators and artists have long argued that students without art are as ignorant as students without math. Furthering, educators and artists argue that the classes, which society has been so quick to cut, are the exact classes that teach the qualities needed to reinvigorate American education. Art and music classes help to enforce analytical thinking, teamwork, motivation, and self-discipline. Above all, art classes teach students fundamental skills while also acting as a source of self-expression and fun.

“We must demonstrate that when children do arts, they are doing critical thinking and problem-solving and learning about civilization. Unless we categorize this in terms people understand, arts will always be considered a frill,” said Carol Sterling, director of arts and education for the American Council on the Arts in 1993.

“Artistic ability isn’t the only area subject to improvement. Students show how increased access to arts education can lead to better grades and higher rates of graduation and college enrollment,” reports the Huffington Post.

What are the benefits of art education within schooling and higher education?

  • Improves performance
  • Increases inspiration and creativity
  • Improves literacy, math, and writing skills
  • Connects students to the larger world
  • Creates strong, positive school cultures
  • Improves attendance and graduation rates
  • Helps professionals interact more easily with clients
  • Helps professionals think outside the box for answers and solutions

After high school, the campaign to keep arts as a part of education seems to diminish, although the arts are reportedly as important in higher education. In one example, Austin Sarat, Cornell University Press, argues that an ideal approach to legal education, as well as all higher education, is to examine law and legal knowledge by making them the objects of inquiry in the liberal arts. Sarat claims that law schools are impoverishing their student’s ability to see the complex relations of law, culture, and society in all their variety, ultimately inhibiting the student’s ability to connect theorizing law and its application in the humanities and social sciences.