David E. Schneider: Amherst school’s proposed schedule changes needs closer look

Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2015
To the editor:

A proposal to change significantly the curriculum and schedule of the Amherst Regional Middle School is being rushed to the superintendent to meet a deadline mandated by the teachers’ union.

A laudable desire to improve students’ learning motivates the proposal. Nevertheless, there are important details to be ironed out (e.g. the nature of the co-teaching and the type and content of new music and language classes central to the proposal) and significant problems that require more time for discussion.

Teachers with whom I have spoken whose courses stand to benefit through more contact hours are generally supportive of the proposal, but feel it to be hastily constructed without sufficient consultation or communication with staff. Teachers who would lose contact hours feel disenfranchised and disrespected.

Given the importance of getting these changes right and the current proposal’s significant problems, let us stand together as community to request a one-year delay.

Doing so would allow for substantive, thoughtful consultation with teachers, which should result in a plan that better serves our children. Next year I hope to be among those loudly voicing support for a proposal to change the ARMS schedule. I cannot support the proposal in its current rushed form.

David E. Schneider