Argumentative Essay on Arts Education: Necessity or a Waste of Time?

Argumentative Essay on Arts Education: Necessity or a Waste of Time?


The debate surrounding the value of arts education intensifies when policymakers and administrators grapple with decisions regarding the allocation of time and funding in schools. This enduring discussion has seen many parents argue for the removal of art and music courses from the curriculum, contending that the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. They assert that the time dedicated to these classes could be more wisely spent on core subjects deemed more essential and practical. In contrast, teachers and numerous parents passionately advocate for these programs, defending the significance of arts education through various articles. Their support extends nationwide, emphasizing that arts education fosters creativity and advanced thinking. This essay seeks to illustrate the importance of arts education and its myriad benefits for children and young adults.

The Arguments Against the Necessity of Art Education

“The article “The Arts and Humanities aren’t worth a Dime” by Matt Burriesci, a multiple-time published author and former participant in the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, boldly asserts that the arts taught in schools lack purpose, particularly in the context of schools and young minds. According to Matt, “We cannot measure the value of these disciplines in dollars, so we have decided that they have no value at all, except some token value, like the parsley garnish on a 16-ounce steak. They’re nice, but not really necessary, and certainly not as necessary as STEM”. Matt emphasizes the significance of core classes, particularly math programs while placing a higher value on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs in schools due to their potential to lead to careers and contribute to society. He argues that the arts are extracurricular and lack purpose in schools since they don’t lead to real-world jobs and cannot be measured monetarily. This perspective is encapsulated in the article’s title, where Matt boldly states that arts and humanities are worth absolutely nothing” (Roege and Kim, 2013).

The Arguments Supporting the Need for Art Education

A literature review published in Frontiers highlighted numerous studies that establish a connection between aesthetic experiences and holistic enhancements in individuals’ emotional well-being, fostering both physical and psychological health. Allocating time, space, and resources for creative expression among learners has been shown to reduce stress, enhance memory, and foster a greater sense of social connectedness. Instructors can shape their careers around facilitating these experiences for students, spanning diverse settings such as galleries, museums, or events organized by nonprofit and community organizations.

A profound appreciation for art extends its impact to a broader societal level, offering substantial benefits to entire communities. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey, researchers affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Public Administration discovered a correlation between participation in the arts, whether as an audience member or creator, and elevated levels of civic engagement and social tolerance (Roege and Kim, 2013). This research implies that children engaging in activities like drawing, painting, singing, or simply appreciating artistic works can contribute to not only personal happiness and well-being but also the development of better individuals.

In a survey conducted by the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, a significant majority of the U.S. public affirmed that the arts constitute an integral component of a well-rounded K-12 education. Moreover, a recent study carried out in Houston public schools uncovered several advantages for students participating in arts education, including:

  • Enhanced writing achievement
  • Decreased disciplinary infractions
  • Heightened student engagement
  • Improved college aspirations
  • No decline in standardized test scores.

Those who contend that the arts lack monetary value may overlook the fact that artistic endeavors, such as concerts, plays, musicals, and art galleries, generate funds for schools. Furthermore, they may fail to recognize the lucrative potential of pursuing degrees in artistic fields, encompassing music performance, acting, and the sale of art pieces—all of which can lead to high-paying jobs (Roege and Kim, 2013).

The Barriers

However, involvement in the visual and performing arts is frequently relegated to a supplementary role in comparison to other facets of learning. Consequently, there are substantial discrepancies in the availability of art and music classes nationwide. The 2019 findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that eighth graders in the Northeast were significantly more likely to report enrollment in a visual arts course than their counterparts in the South. Disparities were also associated with factors such as race, ethnicity, family income, and the location of schools in urban, suburban, town, or rural settings.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education contend that instructional effectiveness improves when educators integrate creative activities and place them at the core of academic development. Across various disciplines, including STEM, there exists an opportunity to reenvision classes with a robust emphasis on activities such as drawing, painting, playing music, and engaging in drama. Encouraging students to harness their imagination can facilitate active engagement with new concepts, uncover connections between ideas, and confer benefits to their social and emotional well-being (“The Importance of Art Education in the Classroom”, 2023).


The essay underscores the significance of art in the classroom, presenting a diverse array of benefits for students. Art lessons serve as a gateway to problem-solving techniques, fostering a fresh perspective on the world and offering access to creative modes of understanding. Students learn how art can serve as a means of expressing their ideas, sparking an interest in crafting increasingly realistic depictions and mastering new artistic techniques. By the time they reach high school, young artists develop critical thinking skills in evaluating their own work and that of their peers, cultivating a distinctive viewpoint and a sense of community with fellow creative individuals. There exist numerous compelling reasons for the continued inclusion of arts education in schools, and they deserve greater recognition for the enriching contributions they make to the lives of our children and our educational institutions.


Roege, G. & Kim, Z. (2013). Why we need arts education. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 31. pp. 121-130.

The Importance of Art Education in the Classroom. (2023, November 30). UF. Retrieved January 24 2024.

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