Parents and kindergarten students at the Harley Avenue Primary School on Long Island were shocked to learn last week that the school's annual year-end talent show was canceled. The reason given? The school decided that the 5- and 6-year-olds must surrender the entertaining assembly in order to focus on studies that will better prepare them for college and their eventual careers.
That reason has left so many baffled, there's now a petition gaining steam to have it reinstated.
The school's original decision was announced in an April 25 letter and signed by principal Ellen Best-Laimit and four teachers:
Image source: Flickr
"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," the letter states.
The kindergarten program at Harley Avenue Elementary School is not even a full day of class. The "school day" lasts all of 2 1/2 hours.
Last week, when the news broke about the cancellation, several parents expressed outrage. Nina Solis, a parent who has two children in the school district, offered to volunteer to organize and help direct the show. Solis' kids are not kindergarten age, but she told TheBlaze that both performed in the event in the past and that she believes the show is important to help the "with self esteem and public speaking."
Solis also took action by starting an online petition to get the show reinstated. A petition to reinstate the annual talent show was posted on Change.org. The online effort appears to be gaining momentum. At press time, more than 1800 of the requested 2500 people had electronically signed the petition. The website states that the petition will be delivered to the school.
Nina Solis also let TheBlaze know that the PTA contacted her regarding an upcoming meeting with the school. Solis says that she is hopeful that the annual event will be back on the schedule soon.
TheBlaze reached out to Best-Laimit for comment and was directed to a communications representative at something called SyntaxNY. Our request for clarification on the cancellation received a general response sent on behalf of the Superintendent of Schools, Peter Scordo to any media outlet calling for comment.
The brief statement read, "The district certainly recognizes and appreciates the concerns of those parents who object to the replacement of the Harley Kindergarten performance with Game Day. However, we support the decision of our educators and believe it is important to recognize the rationale at work in this decision."
When pressed for further clarification of what would be happening on "Game Day" and how it would prepare students for college or a career, the district representative replied, "sorry, but the district is not providing any further details. Just the statement."
A call to superintendent Scordo's office offered no additional information. However, we were told that a school board meeting scheduled for Monday evening has added the topic of the Harley Kindergarten Show to its agenda.
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