Modify Schools’ Block Schedule

As quickly as public schools seem to embrace fads in education, they often abandon them without retaining what may be valuable concepts. That should not happen in Hancock County high schools.

Children do not learn by the artificial schedules forced on them in most schools. Teaching some subjects is more difficult when complex ideas have to be shoehorned into too-short class periods.

That was the idea behind the block scheduling fad a few years ago. It was adopted in Oak Glen and Weir high schools. There, the school day consists of four 90-minute periods rather than the shorter ones used in many schools.

But school officials are considering going back to the old system, in which there would be eight class periods per day, ranging from 45 to 50 minutes each.

Some students in the honors English class at Oak Glen High don’t like the idea. They wrote letters objecting to it, to school Superintendent Tim Woodward. During a board of education meeting Monday, some of the students discussed their concerns. He and Assistant Superintendent Dawn Petrovich also met with the students during their class.

Good for the students. And good for school officials for hearing them out.

Shorter periods may be better for some students and some courses. Longer ones may be an advantage for other pupils and other subjects.

Why not compromise? Why does the system have to be strictly a four-period or an eight-period day? Why can’t schools have the best of both worlds?

Surely there is some method by which scheduling can be flexible enough to provide shorter classes in most situations and longer ones when that is appropriate. School officials should consider that approach rather than abandoning block scheduling — throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak — entirely.

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