Which do you think is more important?
Especially today with budget cuts across the country, one of the first things to go in public schools is the fine arts department. People think that math and science classes are more practical in the long run because they can be applied to the job markets of the future. For this reason, Math and Science classes are rarely, if ever cut from the public high school curriculum when there are budget shortfalls. The problem is that Fine Arts are just as, if not more important in creating well rounded and educated Americans. School boards overlook the long range effects of cutting arts classes and focus just on the immediate budget. It is Fine Arts however that sets students apart, because everyone can count and fill a test tube. Fine Arts make a student unique.
Math and Science are very important, don't get me wrong. These two subjects help to propel our country forward with new inventions and theories. Where would we be today without the internet or the iPhone? People with degrees in Math and Science created these 2 pivotal inventions; we will always need scientists and mathematicians. These are safe careers because there will always be a need for number crunchers and inventors, but the problem is that there are so many of them. They are just cogs on a wheel; they can be replaced when necessary because there are others who can do the same thing. They are also just a part of something larger, as opposed to the something larger itself.
Regardless, mathematicians and scientists are necessary, and the more of them we have, the better. Simply due to sheer numbers, the probability of new ideas is immense. These ideas help to keep America ahead of the other countries in the world, because lets face it, we are all in a competition.
Math and science are also universal subjects. A math problem is the same in English as it is in Mandarin or Russian. The concepts are exactly the same, only the words are different. The same is true of science. Mixing two chemicals will always yield the same result, just different languages have different names for the reaction. This makes math and science very versatile in the world.
However, what people seem to overlook is that Fine Arts truly define a person. They teach a student how to be creative, which is something that math and science cannot do. Mathematicians might be creative people, but creativity does not come just from studying numbers. Whereas there will always be more scientists, creative and original thinkers are more difficult to come by. A truly original idea can have just as much of an impact on the world as an invention. Imagine Adam Smith, Voltaire, FDR, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc… We elect a president not because he knows how to crunch numbers, but because he has original ideas and can lead. Fine arts reinforce these qualities.
Fine arts also instill confidence in students, especially the performing arts. Singing and dancing in front of an audience is one of the most difficult things for a self-conscience teen to do in high school. Performing boosts self-esteem exponentially, making students more comfortable with themselves and their surroundings. Confidence is not something that a math class can teach, it is like a muscle that must be exercised in order to grow stronger. Fine arts allow for this exercise.
Although math and science are safe bets and universally applicable, fine arts are more important in creating unique individuals. Schools that cut fine arts classes only harm their students in the long run. There will always be a need for more creative thinkers, the kind that fine arts develop; not to mention that creative people are just more fun as well. After taking years of acting in school, I can say that I am much more comfortable with myself and not afraid to "perform" in any way in public. I do not think that I can say the same thing of the math geniuses in my grade.