Too much of a STEM focus at MVHS

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When I first told my parents, who are both engineers, I wanted to be a writer, they said I would never find a job, and proceeded to describe the salaries of their interns. They told “horror stories” of friends of who majored in English, but didn’t know what to do with their well-earned degrees, which in the end, after eight years of education, proved useless.

Mountain View High School is located in an area where, since elementary school, the message to students has been clear: be who you want to be, as long as you want to be an engineer or a doctor. And despite purporting to value all students equally, independent of talents and passions, MVHS has only perpetuated such a mindset.

The lack of a humanities awards night, humanities week, and freshman humanities honors classes clearly restrict the options that are provided to those who are interested in any non-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math field.

Events such as STEM awards nights at MVHS allow students to be proud of their accomplishments and allow a community to recognize and applaud those who are especially accomplished in an area of science. The lack of an equivalent in any of the humanities takes the opportunity away from those hoping to pursue what has become the unconventional path to success and happiness.

Ironically, books that we have been reading since middle school, such as Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and The Giver, lament societies without art and literature. Books are burned, original ideas are brainwashed—yet MVHS continues to disregard the messages it repeatedly tells its students—humanities are undeniably important.

The large disparity between opportunities dedicated to the arts contributes to the declining focus on cultural awareness and interactions between people as opposed to interactions between people and screens.

Knowledge of current events, the ability to think creatively, and most importantly, independently, are especially emphasized in the humanities. While technology and medicine can prolong lives, the humanities have been used to protest, to spread ideals, and to change a less tangible aspect of our lives.

On a wider level, the level of funding for STEM has continuously increased, while there have been calls to cut funding for those in humanities departments. Decreasing encouragement in terms of the humanities discourages students from pursuing such fields, which are as important as the sciences.

Schools should encourage students to pursue passion independent of expected economic gain.

           

Karen Xia
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2 Comments

  1. Karen, you will go far, and do well. I speak as a parent, liberal arts graduate, attorney, and current volunteer docent at poet Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House in Carmel (come visit). Your vision is stunning. Keep up the insightful writing. Your fan, Kristi