What Are the Reasons to Eliminate Arts Education Courses From Schools?

Updated April 17, 2017

Arts education courses in school include music, visual art, theatre, and dance education curricula. There is a variety of reasons why arts education may be cut in schools, with arts education curricula in state schools at greater risk for cutting, mainly because of budgetary concerns. Private schools and arts-specific schools are the best bets for students who seek an education that provides a reliable and consistently strong survey in the arts.

Budgetary Restraints

The most common reason arts education courses are eliminated in schools is because of budgetary restraints. In difficult economic times, such as a recession, state funding for state schools is often cut drastically. Budget cuts leave individual schools with the difficult choice of reallocating their funding, and many school boards choose to favour traditional academics over arts courses. Arts courses can be expensive, since they require an entirely different set of resources and teachers with different training and backgrounds, making them expensive when compared with traditional academic classes.

Academic Competition with Other Area Schools

State schools may also cut arts courses from their curriculum because of increasing competition with other area schools. Many schools receive increased funding when their students' standardised test scores are strong because of the No Child Left Behind Act. Because of this, schools often choose to focus their curriculum on increasing standardised test scores at the expense of teaching arts courses, which are not tested. In addition, schools can develop competition with each other based on the number of Advanced Placement courses or similar college preparatory classes they offer. Because these special classes are more expensive to teach and the tests more expensive to administer, arts courses may be cut to accommodate increasing a school's advanced offerings.

Increased Focus on Different Disciplines

A school may decide to focus the education it gives students on different disciplines. If a school decides that students would benefit from increased vocational training offerings, for example, arts courses may be cut because they are no longer seen as applicable to the school's educational mission. In addition, the money and resources that were used for arts education courses can be redistributed to strengthen new programs and focuses in a given school's particular academic catalogue.

Lack of Teachers

Arts education courses can be cut for the simple reason that there are not enough good teachers to fill positions in disciplines such as music, theatre and visual art. If a school is very remote or small in student population, it can be difficult to recruit high-quality teachers without the lure of a high salary, and arts education does not frequently promise a luxury lifestyle. Many schools will opt to cut arts education courses because of a shortage of teachers rather than allow their classrooms and resources to languish.

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About the Author

Goody Clairenstein has been a writer since 2004. She has sat on the editorial board of several non-academic journals and writes about creative writing, editing and languages. She has worked in professional publishing and news reporting in print and broadcast journalism. Her poems have appeared in "Small Craft Warnings." Clairenstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in European languages from Skidmore College.