October 7, 2015


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College prep kills kindergarten play

Career readiness a priority at school

An annual year-end kindergarten show has been cancelled at a New York school because the kids have to keep working so they will be "college and career-" ready.

That's what it says in a letter sent to parents by Ellen Best-Laimit, the interim principal of Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, N.Y., and four kindergarten teachers. The play was to be staged over two days, May 14 and 15, according to the school's calendar.

One mother who received the letter, Ninette Gonzalez Solis, wrote on Facebook parents learned recently the play was being cancelled and started calling the principal, leading the school officials to send out the new missive. Solis wrote she was very upset about the cancellation.

All but one of the people who signed the letter were unavailable for comment. One asked me to call back but then didn't answer the phone. District Superintendent Peter Scordo declined to discuss it. Michael Conte, a spokesman for Scordo, said in an e-mail on Saturday:

"Yes, the letter is authentic. As it states, the Harley Avenue Primary School educators believe that this decision is in the best interest of students. I don't have anything more to add for your consideration. Thank you for reaching out."

This didn't come out of the blue. Kindergarten (and even preschool) has increasingly become academic -- at the expense of things such as recess and the arts -- in this era of standardized test-based school reform. In most states, educators are evaluated in large part on test scores of students (sometimes students they don't have) and on showing their students are "college- and career-ready," the mantra of the Obama administration's education initiatives.

Earlier this year, Rob Saxton, Oregon's deputy superintendent of public instruction, and Jada Rupley, the early learning system director in the state's Education Department, wrote an op-ed in the Oregonian that was published online with this headline: Kindergarten test results a 'sobering snapshot'. What was it about? Kids hadn't done well on a standardized reading-readiness test.


-- Washington Post

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2014 A2


Updated on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7:47 AM CDT: Corrects headline, adds sidebar

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