Counterpoint: Is the New Quarter Schedule Beneficial?

Dean Ormsby, Opinions Editor

   As we plunge into another school year that’s been affected by the infamous Coronavirus, we are faced with many obstacles that are attempting to disrupt our education. The challenges are tough, but with three months for school administrators to come up with solutions, surely the changes that were carried out will be an improvement from last year. UC High decided to deviate from the standard six-class school days, and implement a new schedule format. Instead, we have been greeted with three-class school days, broken up into two quarters per semester. While things were changed with good intentions, the new schedule has many flaws, and both students and teachers would be better off with the traditional schedule.

   One major flaw with the new schedule is obvious: we don’t have nearly as much time to complete our work. Although it may appear to be less work due to fewer classes,  our total time spent in each class has been cut in half, which means we are forced to adapt. This adaptation usually results in a rushed curriculum, which teaches students in a significantly less effective manner. According to Oxford Learning, “Too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and weight loss” ( Homework is proven to be an effective learning supplement when given in the correct dosages, but too much homework has the opposite effect. With this new schedule, teachers have no choice but to overload students with a semester’s amount of homework in a span of nine weeks. It is very evident that too much school work does the opposite of what is intended. It does not make students more intelligent; it makes them stressed, anxious, sleep deprived, and unhealthy.

   In addition, teachers are not nearly as prepared for this new type of schedule. Condensing the curriculum doesn’t just affect the students. Many teachers have been forced to completely change their teaching plan, which poses a major challenge for those who have taught the same subject for many years, and are far too busy to do a complete overhaul. “I’m not saying that the new schedule is bad, but it certainly has posed challenges that have made my job more difficult in some aspects,” said English Teacher Mike Jason. This may not bother many students, but it should. When the teachers suffer, the students suffer, as the teachers are the sole reason we are able to effectively learn.

   The schedule compression is not the only aspect of this change that will result in negative consequences. Taking a six-week break from a subject is extremely counterproductive. According to Edutopia, Without any reinforcement or connections to prior knowledge, information is quickly forgotten — roughly 56 percent in one hour, 66 percent after a day, and 75 percent after six days” ( Learning new concepts, facts, and ideas requires lots of repetition, and taking long breaks will prove to be a very ineffective tactic for learning. The curriculum is already being rushed, and basic biology is not on our side. Our brains are wired to forget things unless we constantly review them, and that simply won’t be possible with these long breaks every quarter.

   Overall, it is very evident that the quarter system is an ineffective attempt at improving our time spent in school. While it gives off the illusion of a wonderful, stress relieving change, it is actually harmful to students and teachers. Instead we find ourselves cramming every night, moving through the curriculum too quickly, only to forget it a few weeks later when we inevitably ignore all things related to the subject. We are not the product of our own failure, but rather the product of a flawed education system, that has left hard working teachers to throw away the years spent refining their lesson plans, and instead give us a worksheet about our favorite colors while they scramble to fix the problems created by the new schedule.