- Officials at New York's Harley Avenue Primary School last week informed parents that an annual kindergarten play would be canceled in favor of more college and career prep for the kids.
- Parents cried foul, with one starting a petition for the play to go on that gained over 2,100 signatures.
- The petition argues that kindergarten at the school should be extended to a full day if college and career prep is necessary.
According to the cancelation letter sent by school officials, the children needed more time to learn "valuable lifelong skills" for "college and career," like becoming "strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers." Arguably, the experience of putting on the play would work toward at least the latter two objectives in that list.
This news also follows an opinion piece from Oregon about kindergartners not performing well on that state's standardized test measuring reading readiness. It's important that children pick up that foundation in kindergarten (which arguably begins at home, prior to kindergarten), but is it really necessary to put the pressure of standardized tests and other metrics on kids that young? And at the expense of the skills they could still learn from staging the play? In that context, it's not hard to understand why so many states have seen parental backlash to Common Core and other measures.
While the U.S. does need to raise its standards to better compete with nations like China, Japan, and South Korea, it's also important to note that officials in those nations have laid the blame on their "examination hell" models for focusing too much on teaching to tests and not producing well-rounded, critical-thinking students. These viewpoints are certainly worth considering alongside the data.