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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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  • May 23 2012: As one who excelled at math & science in my school years, but somehow, unbeknownst to me, my creative side took control in early twenties, I see the value in pursuits of teaching the brain to operate from either side. My best illustration of this transformation is hardly academic, but I could never dribble a basketball with my left hand growing up, the right always dominated, but now it is a great struggle to dribble with my right, nstead the left dominates.

    Neither pursuit can be ignored and I believe both can aid you in whatever you decide to pursue in your life. I don't like how there are too many students that go to college to major in the arts. It is hard to find employment with such majors, and even when found, the pay is not necessarily enough to live and pay off loans. I believe those that major in the arts should be the exception, not the rule. There are ample career paths that can utilize creative minds and will pay enough to keep up with the rent. Not sure I am answering the question posed however. I guess yes, I do think the arts are pushed too much, and that creative minds that could be coming up with random uncalculated ideas for solving poverty, disease, etc, are too busy acting in local theaters, painting canvas that will end up in Goodwill, or playing trombone on a street corner, to ever do much more than they potentially could have? This is a generalization and by no means a broad brush to paint on all artists for I love the arts, theater, dance, and playing an instrument (all of which I do or did). Math and science may not be the complete answer, but neither is art either.

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