(Un)Willfull Ignorance

This coming week, faculty will begin voting on a set of proposed daily class schedules to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year. For better or worse, the decision will greatly impact the daily lives of students, faculty and administrators. We feel, however, that student voices have not been sufficiently incorporated in the process of creating and selecting the new daily class schedule.

While there were opportunities for student input last year in a school congress setting and in dorm meetings, these events did not include all students, and therefore did not reflect the views of the entire student body. And although students were invited to engage in the conversation, we do not know in what contexts, if any, our opinions were implemented. What did the scheduling committee do with the information we gave it? What impact did our contributions really have?
Faculty members, of course, know more than we do about Andover. They know its history and systems and have seen what does and does not work. Considering the importance of such a huge schedule change, we, as students, do not have the knowledge and experience to make the final decision. At the same time, though, we are the ones who stay up late completing five subjects of homework on Thursday nights; we are the ones who rush from building to building in between classes on weekdays; we are the ones who, three times per year, complete final exams and projects during the physically and emotionally exhausting Extended Period Week. Even when faculty members shadow students, they are unable to understand what it truly means to be an Andover student. Although we do not know everything about the school, we know how it feels to learn and study in this environment. As such, our opinions should have a significant impact on the decision.

Although voting begins next week, it is not too late for students to weigh in on these decisions. We propose a large, open meeting devoted to outlining the proposals and explaining the effect each proposed schedule would have on the community. The scheduling committee could also send a follow-up email to the student body further outlining the proposed schedules and providing students the opportunity to give specific feedback on the ways in which these new schedules might affect our lives. This way, the scheduling committee will have a more direct knowledge of student perspectives on the schedules.

The proposal of a new daily schedule provides a wonderful opportunity to better the daily lives of our community members. We do not have the tools to make this decision by ourselves, but our opinions do warrant attention and consideration by the faculty. With more student input, we can seize this opportunity to improve the lives of everyone here at Andover.

This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXVIII.