A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds strong support for arts education in New Jersey public schools.

The poll, which was done for the group Arts Ed NJ, shows 9 in 10 respondents think the arts are important part of school curriculum.

"New Jerseyans really do believe that the arts are an important and essential part of life for students," Poll Director Ashley Koning said.

Half or more of those in the poll also believe arts education is just as important as other subjects, such as English language arts (53 percent), science (50 percent), social studies (56 percent), computer science (49 percent), health and physical education (56 percent) and world languages (54 percent).

Of those polled, 6 in 10 said the believe arts exposure improves students' overall academic performance and prepares them for the workforce

Koning said even though some in the poll disagree about arts funding, one in two say their own local districts do not spend enough on the arts.

"Spending is a big issue, and of course, we see that those who are more likely to think that the arts are important and those who are more supportive of the arts in general are more likely to want to see funding go towards the arts and arts education," Koning  said.

According to Koning, "a big push at Arts Ed NJ ... is really trying to show that the arts are important, and that New Jerseyans really do need to fill in that participation gap of how they help students, whether it is encouraging them, or volunteering themselves, donating money, donating time, or discussing the arts with others."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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