Commentary

A Step Back

Last Thursday, the faculty released its decision to implement the 4×5 schedule and calendar option, to take effect in Fall 2017. In the wake of the announcement, students like ourselves were upset and frustrated by the decision. Not only did we feel we had been left in the dark throughout the process, but we now also felt forced to accept a schedule we didn’t want. We believe that this change will simply not meet the needs of many Andover students.

When the final results were announced for the vote on the schedule change, there was a 30-vote difference between those in favor and those not. This displays that the new schedule is far from perfect. In a decision as impactful and important as this one, we believe that a more substantial majority is necessary for creating truly constructive and positive change. Without nearly unanimous support from teachers, the new 4×5 schedule lacks stability and credibility.

Although we acknowledge our bias toward the familiarity and comfort of the current schedule, the 4×5 also creates far too many disruptions to our lives. Firstly, the 4×5 schedule negatively impacts the athletics program and student-athletes. With its implementation, the only option will be to continue with our existing athletic program while being out of sync with our new academic schedule, as we cannot divide the athletic seasons into quarters. This will complicate and lessen the options available for students who plan their sports according to their academics, or vice versa. Oftentimes, students will take intramural sports to better handle a six-course load, or pursue lighter classes while playing on a varsity sport. With the new schedule, these students’ athletics and academics will be uncoordinated and hinder them from strategically managing time to fit interests.

The new schedule change will also negatively affect the college admission process for the Class of 2018. With the new schedule being implemented during our Senior Year, we will be forced to readjust during arguably the most stressful and crucial year at Andover. We will have to adapt to the new schedule in the midst of our great struggles with college applications, our new positions as leaders on campus and our upper-level course workloads. In addition, our first quarter of Senior Year will have a larger impact on our early admissions, only increasing and prolonging the stress Andover students face. This pressure and stress will worsen with the increased number of terms taken into account in regular decision admissions as well. Our Senior Spring – our last opportunity to pursue passions, leave our legacies and create changes in our community academically, athletically and emotionally – will also be drastically shortened.

As the new schedule becomes part of Andover’s daily life, we encourage both faculty members and students to reflect upon whether the change was truly the best choice for our community. In the future, we must ensure we are not changing administratively merely for the sake of change, and must more widely and openly consider the drawbacks of each major decision. Though a change was needed in response to the ineffectiveness of the old schedule in regards to student health and productivity, the 4×5 is simply not the answer.

Feb 5, 2016