OP-ED: Cons of Block Schedules

OP-ED: Cons of Block Schedules

By Lauren Reiser, Sophomore Editor

When the district announced it was thinking of implementing block scheduling for our high school, I was initially excited to see their new ideas and plans; however, the drawbacks of this particular schedule outweigh the many deceiving benefits of this change.

While most classes will gain 270 minutes, there are many negatives. I do think it is beneficial to spend more time in our core classes, but students do not need longer electives and gym periods, which are not crucial to an education. Also, students with attention issues will likely have issues focusing for the entire 58 minute period, causing this increase in time to be counterproductive.

With a block schedule, students will no longer have to “lab out” of their electives or gym class, but will rather have a 20 minutes lab once every 4 days. Shortening the science labs from 40 minutes to 20 minutes negatively impacts the science curriculums; from my own experience, it is difficult to complete an entire experiment in forty minutes, let alone only twenty. As a result, science courses will overall lose 90 minutes compared to the current schedule. For AP sciences such as AP Physics, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry that have to complete a very dense curriculum before the AP tests in May, time is very limited and should not be further condensed.

The greatest benefit of block scheduling for many students is the unit lunch, where the entire school will eat at one time. This will solve the issue of students being separated from their friends during lunch. However, this unit lunch is more of a problem than a solution. With over a thousand students at the school, one unit lunch ensures chaos. Students will have to eat in the gym, which seems impractical and inconvenient. Kiosks will be set up in the school so the students will have multiple places to buy food, but the significant $162,225 cost of these changes are not worth the benefits.

The time for the unit lunch is also extremely misleading. Currently, our school has a 42-minute lunch that does not include passing times, which are 4 minutes each. The new block schedule includes a 54 minutes lunch that does include passing times. This means the time for lunch only really increased by 4 minutes, which is not that much of a change.

For all classes besides sciences to gain 270 minutes, homeroom will no longer exist, which is a major issue. When will students be given medical forms or their school picture? Homeroom is a necessary part of high school and the block schedule completely removes it. The school has proposed that the morning announcement will be moved to lunch, but that is not practical. Firstly, almost every senior leaves the school for lunch and would miss important school announcements. Announcements need to be in the morning to remind students of certain events that are taking place. Additionally, it is unrealistic that the pledge of allegiance would be done during lunch, which has been a morning tradition for our township schools.

Within our student body, there are mixed feelings about the switch to block scheduling. Sophomore Asha Madapuru was at first hesitant about the schedule change but is now warming up to it. “The only thing that bothers me is having lunch at the same time and making people eat in the gyms.”

Sophomore Gabrielle Goldman is excited about the new schedule, and thinks it “will allow students to achieve greater academic success.” Junior Ashley Peyser, who is also in favor of block scheduling, thinks “it will be effective because it’ll be less stressful on students.”

While our district has voted to implement block scheduling for the 2019-2020 school year, we will have to see if this schedule change ultimately lives up to its proponent’s expectations and delivers the benefits they believe it will.