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Mitch Harrison

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Are the arts (music, dance, visual art, etc.) as important to teach in public schools as mathematics and sciences?

As a senior in high school and a passionate musician, I have been thinking a lot recently about the future. My future after graduation, my future with my loved ones, my friends' futures. Most of all, however, I've been thinking about society's future. In school, I am taught that math and science will get me to college, and college will get me a good job. That is all well and good... for the students who excel in math and science. I am an artist, and I think schools should build on that strength, instead of trying to fit the suqare peg of analytic classes into the round hole of my creative heart. I am very interested to hear both sides of this argument, though, as my side is not necessarily the correct side to take (if a "correct side" exists at all). I want some opinions. Should the arts be pushed more? Mathematics and sciences pushed less? Is education okay where is now?

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    Josh S

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    May 20 2012: I myself am a junior in high school so we both have that in common. However, i take the opposite perspective as i enjoy science much more than the arts.
    My answer is most likely going to be biased, but atleast it is one side of the argument. I think that the sciences are only slightly more leaned on then the arts. In my school, we have 3 years required to take of the sciences, earth science, biology, and chemistry. We must also take 2 years of any art form. So in this way schooling obviously leans closer to the arts. However, in the variety of subjects available, there is much more in choosing in the arts. While there may be about 10 science electives, there are 15-20 art electives.
    On the other hand, i think arts are generally considered to be lesser to math and science because math and science are for the most part, concrete. 2+2=4. in math this is always true, it can't be different. in art on the other hand, it is all opinion. Some may say this piece or this work is amazing while another may say it is bland. Not only this, but art has little practical use that i can think of in the world. Concepts of physics and chemistry can change our society; if a new way to create energy was found, it would be an amazing breakthrough that affects everyone. But if someone painted an amazing picture, only a few would take notice.

    I think it has more to do with the practicality of what is studied that determines how much it is valued, especially in schools.

    Again, these are just my thoughts and are probably slightly biased, but i'm open for your view on it
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      May 21 2012: I respect your opinion, but I believe that art is just as important as any science in the world.

      The beauty of art is that it is not concrete, it can be molded into anything the artist and viewer wants it to be.

      You make the observation that few would notice if anyone painted an amazing picture, however, you fail to acknowledge how before most of the people were literate, it was through art that religious organizations conveyed their messages to followers and to those they were converting. While not everyone could read or write religious texts, they could all interpret religious images.
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        Josh S

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        May 21 2012: Yes 300 years ago this art did make a difference, but what we are talking about now is the educational system in the 21st century. While there are needed skills in the arts, there is nowhere near as much as need as their is for the sciences. In today's day and age, the arts offer relatively minor benefits that the sciences offer, in terms of monetary gains, societal respect, achievements, and humanitarian benefits.

        I dont debate that the arts are useful, for example i am listening to music at the moment and love my music dearly. This website was in part helped created by a visual art designer, so they helped created the website. What i am simply stating is that their are more uses for the sciences than the arts, and that is why it is focused on more in school.

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