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In their own words ... 

New Times' Education issue goes to the kids

Every year summer draws to a close and the New Times staff tries to remember what it was like to be a student preparing for a new school year. The anticipation, dread. It’s there, tucked into the backs of our minds, along with other spare memories and information for which we have no current purpose. But it’s been a while—a very long while, in some of our cases—since any of the New Times writers boarded a school bus and suffered the anxiety induced by pop quizzes and long division. We’re already there, not at the end of our educational journey, which will hopefully last forever, but certainly long past those long, productive years between kindergarten and that fateful walk that concludes 12th grade.

So this year we resolved to broadcast the opinions and perspectives of those most influenced by the educational system—not the teachers, parents, or journalists, but the students. We provided the following prompts: What have you learned so far in school? What is the purpose of education? What do you like/ dislike about school? What do you want to be/ do/ accomplish as an adult?

These are their answers.


Student: Spencer Hafley

2nd grade

Pacheco Elementary School


What have I learned so far in school?

Well, I have learned science, and math, English and Spanish, and reading and writing and music.


What is the purpose of school/ education?

That’s a tough one. To get smarter and learn. If you don’t go to school and don’t have a place to learn, you won’t be very smart when you grow up. You wouldn’t get a job because you don’t know how to get a job and a lot of stuff.


What do I like/ dislike about school?

I mostly like our singing on Fridays and the library. I also like addition and subtraction. I like my friends and assemblies. I don’t like Spanish class because it’s really really tough.


And what do I want to be/ do/ accomplish
as an adult?

I would probably be a teacher or work at Crossroads Video or my dad’s bike shop. I would like to be a good traveller and I’d like to be a baseball player and a veterinarian. That’s all.


Student: Cora Amerson

3rd grade

Bishop Peak Elementary School


What have I learned so far in school?

I know how to do 3 digit subtraction. I learned how to do division. I’ve done a German Shephard report and a Cucumber Beetle Report. I got to choose both of those subjects.

Today I went on a field trip with Mr. Morgan and Ms. Tomac. We took the city bus to Barnes and Noble. We got a free book. Then we walked to the library and we got an application for a library card. I learned that adults can check out 99 movies & books at a time from the library. Kids can only get 2 at a time.


What is the purpose of school/ education?

The purpose of education is so that you don’t waste your life sitting on a couch all day, watching TV and eating potato chips.


What do I like/ dislike about school?

I don’t like it that you have to write so many things. I like that you get to read about the things you like. I like the subject of recess and lunch because you get to have free time with your friends. I like math because I’m good at it.


And what do I want to be/ do/ accomplish
as an adult?

I want to be a veterinarian so I can help animals. I want to have a puppy when I grow up. I’m going to get a boat in the ocean so I can travel the world. I’m going to Japan so I can eat sushi off of a conveyer belt.


How will school help get you
to be able to do those things?

They might say there’s 16 puppies and you can choose 3. How many are left? 16-3=13.

There might be 20 California Rolls and 5 Ninja Rolls. If you split them with 5 people, how many does each person get from
the conveyer belt? Each person gets 1 Ninja Roll and 4 California rolls.


Hannah Fowler

6th grade

Sinsheimer Elementary School


I want to be a vet, and my parents say that I have to be in school a long time if I really want to do that. I’d like to be a zoo vet because I like all kinds of animals and I don’t really want to just look after dogs and cats. I’d like to help animals and protect them, and I really want to work with tigers. I think tigers have a bad reputation—animals are really more scared of us than we are of them. I love peregrine falcons too. They can do the coolest things, for instance they have awesome ways of catching food. They do this thing called undergrabbing, and they can swoop and dive at 230 mph! I also want to be a singer, because singing makes me happy.

My parents also say there are not very many opportunities for people if they don’t go to school. If you don’t go to school you can’t get a job and you can’t really do too much. I like school if I understand everything that’s happening in class. I like figuring things out but I get frustrated when I don’t understand something and that’s when I start to dislike school. Sometimes the teacher doesn’t have time to answer questions so I end up asking my parents to explain things to me.

I remember this one day in fourth grade math class that was really cool. It was just a regular class, and this happened on a Friday. We came to a problem that the teacher said about half of us would get it right. The teacher told us to sit down if we thought the answer was one thing, and stand up if we thought the other was correct. I knew my answer was right so I stood up. Every one of my math classmates sat down. My face turned red and I was sweating. The teacher asked me if I had a reason for standing and I told her my reason. She announced that I was right and everyone clapped for me. I loved that.

    School’s great when the teacher makes the lesson fun. For instance, in one fifth grade class the teacher showed us videos to help us understand some things better. One time we were done a little early and the same teacher played tag with us on the playground! That was awesome. I love field trips but not if we end up going to the same places a lot. My cousin Mark goes to school in Maryland and they do class plays. We don’t do any plays and that makes me sad. I wish we did more art too.

    My friends also make school fun. We play lots of games. In fourth grade last year some of my friends and I had an idea for an online game site, sort of like Club Penguin. We called it Dreamville and we invented a lot of great characters. We had meetings and we elected a president and a vice president and other officers. But building something like that is a lot of work and we didn’t know how. We weren’t even supported by Disney and Club Penguin. My mom also said the domain wasn’t available. It sort of fell apart after a while anyway.

    6th grade is coming up and I am so stoked! I wish we still had about two months to go. Summer is ending too soon. But to be honest, I am a bit nervous, though I think that 6th grade might be one of my best years!
I have hope.


Education For its Own Sake

Ray Duncan

It’s complicated


My name is Ray Duncan. In school, I have learned about history, mathematics, Earth science, and classic literature. After this summer, I would be going into my junior year of high school, had I not decided to leave school for my musical career: a folk rock duo consisting of my father and myself, called Ranchers for Peace.

I believe that every child should have enough of an education to feel confident in themselves upon entering adulthood. I say this because education seems to have become a tool for advancement in the world, rather than a means for self-development, and self-exploration. The diploma has become something for its own sake, but that is not supposed to be why we go to school. Education is the experience of learning, and that experience should be the thing that a student is hoping to get out of their school career. If all it’s really about is a little piece of paper with a stamp on it, then I think we should just go home.

To conclude, I would like to make it clear that I did not leave school because I hated homework, or because I had no interest in what I was learning. I am leaving school because I am ready for new things. I will always be learning from what I see and do over the course of my life. My education did not end when I left the classroom, and neither should yours. 

Send comments via Managing Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at


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