Why is teaching kids to draw not a more important part of the curriculum?

This article on the importance of drawing (from the ever-informative The Conversation) chanced to come by our desk this morning, and it got us thinking.

There is an election coming up in Australia, and neither major party has given the arts so much as a nod. I like to give a plug to The Arts Party when-ever I can, because while they are a very small party with no chance of wielding any real power if they even win a seat, they do represent a slowly growing reaction to the slow excision of the Arts from our social and political lives. Federal funding for the the Arts has been hugely reduced under the current government and is hardly likely to gain much under the next; arts organisations are being stripped of their independence and the arts are being removed from education on all levels.

paints pencils paper and brush

We need Visual Art, Music and Dance, in our schools because we need them in our lives, but since the roll out of the national curriculum we have seen hours of education devoted to art and music slashed. This isn't about party politics. This is about our national leaders and our national institutions loosing their imagination, and quite possibly their belief that we should hope for a future different to the present.   

The article from the Conversation makes a really good, simple case, for the importance of drawing in developing our analytical and communication skills, but of course drawing is a whole lot more than this. We wouldn't get through our day very well without basic language skills, but our lives would barely be worth living if we didn't also have access to language used in a way that exceeds everyday usefulness - as poetry or song. We need poetry to love language, to  make our lives joyous, and to imagine an even better world. We also need drawing to learn how to see, and to imagine, and to create new possibilities in every part of our lives. 

So yes, drawing makes for better surgeons, better designers, and better engineers, I also reckon it would make for better politicians, but it would take quite a shake-up to test that theory!