This interesting little thing was written by eric for college English placement. It's in answer to the question: "How important do you think the arts are to a person's education?"


I think the justification behind taking away support for the arts is that having some knowledge in major academic areas will provide a person with plenty of job opportunities, while only those with talent and devotion will succeed as artists, musicians, and actors. Any idiot who studies hard and gets an A in Algebra has the potential to become a successful stockbroker; however, taking a couple music theory classes is not going to turn him or her into Pavarotti. However, one has to wonder sometimes how much time has been wasted sitting through endless Physics lectures by people who know that they will never have anything to do with science after high school. I heard once that most people use less than 20% of what they learn in school once they have graduated and gotten a job. After all, how many adults really use higher mathematics on a regular basis? The average joe is not bright enough to buy multiple one-packs of paper towels instead of the "value pack" which consists of three packages and is more expensive than three individual ones (as attested to by my math teacher). And science? Some folks find fascination in discovering the mechanics behind organisms both living and man-made, but most of us prefer to remain blissfully ignorant. Which is not necessarily a good thing, but it is the truth. Foreign language is in a similar predicament: only those who wish to become culturally educated or plan to work in countries where English is not widely spoken will derive benefit; the rest are doomed to the drudgery of infinite verb conjugations.

On the other hand, I believe instruction in the humanities is crucial. Everybody can benefit from a good English course; good writing skills are fundamental, and essential to good communication, one of the most important aspects of human society. In addition, writing books can be a lucrative endeavor, providing that one knows the right people, has plenty of publicity, and writes what people want to hear. Some knowledge of history is also important; one does not have to go so far as to memorize the U.S. constitution, but knowing about major foul-ups that have occurred in the past will hopefully prevent them from happening again.

All in all, I think that if a student is truly interested in the arts, he or she will find a way to pursue that interest, regardless of whether or not he or she is supported by the school. However, considering the impact that the arts have on so many people's lives and the potential they have for creating good, the budget allotted for arts education should be increased, not vice versa. I would recommend evening them out somewhat with those of the math, science, and foreign language departments, but I know that that would cause an uproar. So instead I propose that gym class be cut from the curriculum entirely. At my high school every student is required to take gym for all four years in order to graduate. The idea is to promote "physical fitness". However, the few students that don't play sports outside of school adamantly refuse to participate in gym class and usually end up failing anyway. My school recently spent thousands of dollars on an expensive weight-training room. Dropping gym from the curriculum would free up funds that could be better used in other subjects, such as the arts, and result in a higher graduation rate as well.

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