STEM and liberal arts offer opportunities beyond high school

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Infograph by Travis Jacobson.

According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, by their 50’s, students who majored in a liberal arts degree earn about $2,000 more than students who majored in professional degrees. Culturally and socially, arts are important to students. Arts encourage students to express themselves and interact with others, but from a practical standpoint, science and math courses are more important.

STEM fields and careers include subjects like chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medical sciences, etc. For recent college graduates, a paying STEM career would be a good option compared to an arts degree that doesn’t start making money until later in life.

Many people believe that the arts are not highly valued and are not pushed by the schools. This is because the U.S. mostly pushes more science and math courses in order to graduate high school. President Barack Obama set a priority of increasing the amount of students and teachers that are proficient in these fields because fewer American students pursue these professions.

“STEM should be more of a focus in schools because it’s a great set off to college,” said Chemistry teacher Shelly Holmberg. “Science and math are also pushed more by the state, as they’re standards.”

Our goal at this school, as teachers, is to give you a well rounded education. I think that arts and STEM really go hand in hand. I do not agree that you as students are forced to choose one over the other.”

— Zach Sawyer

According to the  National Association of Colleges and Employers, new engineers will make nearly $65,000  per year compared to a social justice major which will make only $46,585 a year. For most recent college graduates, or even students going into college, thinking about STEM majors and careers may be a good idea.

Students who are talented in sciences or mathematics, or students who have studied these fields and have put in hard work might want to consider going into STEM careers. Besides the fact that STEM careers earn more money, there are many more jobs available, especially for newly graduated college students.

The school is ultimately not responsible for students interests. Everyone is entitled to their own passion. The schools job is to give each student a well rounded education. Schools are supposed to help students find their passions and follow them.

“Our goal at this school, as teachers, is to give you a well rounded education. I think that arts and STEM really go hand in hand. I do not agree that you as students are forced to choose one over the other,” Orchestra director Zach Sawyer said. “With my experience with other schools, Stillwater has one of the best supports for music and the arts programs.”

The debate between STEM and the arts is an interesting one. From a practicality standpoint, STEM would be a better choice for students that have an interest in it and are either going into, or graduating college. The arts are good for students both culturally and socially. They promote self expression, which is a wonderful thing. But in the workplace, STEM is the better option.

 

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