Elwood school officials Monday night stood behind the principal's decision to cancel a traditional Harley Avenue Primary School kindergarten event due to scheduling constraints.
"I believe we made the right decision for the right reason," Superintendent Peter Scordo said at a special meeting called to discuss the matter. He said he is trying to give students "the most instructional time as possible."
He said the children's performance, which involves a slide show and children's songs, is "not the best use of the limited time we have with our youngest learners" because of the instructional time lost to snow days this winter.
School officials said the show had to be canceled so that students could be given more instruction in the skills they'll need to be college and career-ready in the future.
Parents weren't buying it, including Ninette Solis:
"Our argument is simple...Our kids are 4 and 5 years old. What competitive advantage could you possibly give them by taking away a treasured part of their school experience?"
The meeting drew about 100 parents and students, including some who attend the district's high school. About a dozen teachers attended the meeting.
Several speakers criticized the decision, as well as the Common Core standards, saying those academic guidelines are partly responsible for administrators choosing to forfeit a popular arts project to preserve time for academics.
Parent Becky Marcus said the administration appears to dismiss the value of what for many is a critical rite of passage.
"There is value on it," she said. "You get to gain valuable skills. You gain life skills."
Of course students gain life skills by putting on the show, learning how to tap into their creativty, learning how to work together, and even learning that all-important Common Core skill, how to take direction.
But the educrats in charge would rather rote learning and test prep for the four and five year olds.
This is emblematic of the Common Core reform agenda - valuing a very, very narrow part of human skill and devaluing everything else.