Math and science are absolutely important. I’m appalled when I see journalists who don’t grasp basic math concepts and when I see people post scientific nonsense.
The irony here is that liberal arts grads may often have a better respect for “science” than some “scientists” have for other fields of science. That explains why I’ve got a Facebook conversation going on in which a math/computer guy is arguing against evolution. It also explains why you see people with Ph.Ds (in other fields) arguing against climate change.
Engineers in particular often think they have the answers to everything, based on the assumption that what they do is more intellectually rigorous than what other people do. I’d say in response that I found computer programming much easier to grasp than art history. (Maybe I should’ve stuck with my high school dreams of becoming an engineer.)
So that’s why I’m always going to be a fan of a well-rounded education rather than one that sticks students in labs all day, focused on one topic. And that includes the liberal arts, which is why I loved this comment at the Post:
“In other countries academics are the fundamentals, things such as art and sports are recreational and are done after school.”
I think those countries you’re referring to largely do not value creativity or original thought of any kind, but rather rote memorization and regurgitation. This is not what drives an innovative society (which is why I agree with the author’s concern about driving too many kids into STEM), but rather produces mindless drones – that somehow still really want to come to the US/UK/Canada and attend our ‘liberal’ arts schools to become more well-rounded.