Interview with Matthew Murphy, 9th Grader at Compass Public Charter School, Meridian
In conjunction with National School Choice Week we interviewed our student rally speakers about what choice means to them and the effect it has had on their education.
What role has school choice played in your education so far?
I have been to five different schools, three of them were public traditional schools and the others were a public magnet and a public charter school. When I first went to a magnet school for fifth grade it was definitely a different atmosphere. I was very used to being in a school of 800 kids and to suddenly go to a small school and smaller community was very refreshing, and a change of pace. There’s the same feel at Compass. It has a different technique and a different style.
Why did you decide to attend Compass?
I attended a small magnet school for fifth grade, so transferring back into a larger middle school for sixth grade was very difficult for me. I found that I wanted something more from my education. An education that just had more to it. I was almost disappointed by my sixth grade year because there were so many questions. How did we get to this – how did that happen? I was left with a lot more questions than answers and I felt like I was ready for a school where they would try to answer those questions and motivate me to answer them myself.
I told my parents, I want to be in a learning environment where it is more based on a student, their interests and likes, rather than just the teacher getting in front of the classroom and only sticking to a schedule. I feel that charter and magnet schools are a more viable option if you want a hands on, personalized experience.
What does a personalized experience look like for you?
At Compass they put more of an emphasis on being able to understand the material and being able to apply that in a further construct, rather than just on grades. This has definitely changed how I look at things and how I learn now.
Technology is also a big factor and it’s becoming more of a necessity for schools. It seems like, when you have technology you need more knowledge yourself to be able to use the technology to a higher extent. You are going to need to have a wider array of skills to use it correctly in education. So when it comes down to it, I think implementing technology in schools is what drives a higher standard of learning.
What are your hoping to do after high school?
Well, I have always been fascinated by the unknown. I’m thinking of going to a fairly big college, either the University of Washington or Arizona State University, where they have large astronomy and physics programs. Every single day, it always gets me that we are on this tiny planet and there is this hundreds of millions of miles of space filled with other planets and other solar systems. There are probably a lot of things we have not discovered about the universe. So, I think that would be the field I would go into.
What does school choice mean to you?
If you wish to, you have the freedom and you have the right to go a different path from what is perceived as traditional. Being able to have that is very important because, as a student, it kind of feels like we are living in an adults world. To be able to have the ability to make our own choices or go a different route is very beneficial to the student because they feel like they can make their own future.