UES Middle School Kids Should Eat Their Class Pets

June 3, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The Wall Street Journal profiled seventh- and eighth-grade students of the Upper East Side’s Ella Baker School, where a math teacher named Michael Paoli had them raise a tank full of tilapia. The students cared for the fish all year, learning about science and math in the process. Now, the fish are teaching the students about ethics, as a heated debate goes on over whether or not to kill and eat the fish.

Some kids have grown attached to the tilapia, and don’t want to kill the creatures they’ve come to regard as friends. Others, though, reject such an emotional argument, saying that they eat meat from the supermarket, so what difference does it make?

One student in particular, named Raven Garcia, is going to grow up successful. She’s a smart kid with a depth of experience. Remember her name:

Raven said she spent summers in Puerto Rico with her family. She grew used to raising chickens, caring for them and slaughtering them for dinner, she said.

“Eventually things are going to go and things are going to die,” she said her family taught her. “You might as well make use of how they go.”

Another kid is a damn creep, and remember her name as someone to avoid:

Emilia Cooper, 12, said she aspires to be a doctor, and that meant she straddled the class divide. She favored killing the fish, but only so she could dissect them.

“I don’t want to eat them,” she said. “I just want to kill them.”

I wish I had a math teacher like Mr. Paoli in middle school, who also had the kids care for a vegetable garden fertilized by the fish tank. Maybe then I would have passed physics and chemistry and shit in high school, and I would have gone to Cornell or someplace, and I would be making $150,000 a year as an engineer instead of blogging about fish. But you know what? I’m happy blogging about fish. I just never really got the chance to explore other options than being a fish blogger, because I went to a shitty rural public school where teachers were more into getting drunk and going mudding than teaching science. APPRECIATE YOUR OPPORTUNITY, CHILDREN.

Also, these kids have to eat these fish. I mean, c’mon. Tilapia is delicious. What are they going to do, raise a bunch of food fish and then not eat them? These kids need to learn to be bloodthirsty capitalists who can care about something and then profit from its demise. This is a valuable real-world education they’re getting in a classroom. Some of the kids make a good point that maybe they’re not big enough yet. But the kids talking about how they need to let the fish decide? Those kids are weak-minded and will not be future captains of industry. Team Raven.

(Image: WSJ)