Many parents were and disappointed surprised to learn this week that Principal Ellen Best-Laimit had canceled the annual kindergarten play. In a letter explaining the decision, Best-Laimit and four kindergarten teachers said the play was a distraction from the school's main ambition.
"We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers," Best-Laimit and her colleagues said in the letter.
Best-Laimit said that a "movement toward more rigorous learning standards" is part of a national trend.
"It is most important to keep in mind is [sic] that this issue is not unique to Elwood. Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world," she continued.
When the letter garnered international media attention and inspired a Change.org petition calling on the school to go on with the play, school superintendent Peter Scordo said in a statement that "the traditional kindergarten performance requires multiple days away from classroom work for preparation and execution."
“Our educators believe that the traditional kindergarten performance requires multiple days away from classroom work for preparation and execution, and together with the lost instructional time this year due to poor weather, is not the best use of the limited time we have with our youngest learners,” he said.