retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I'm a big believer in setting priorities … and making sure that one's priorities - whether in business or in one's personal life - are in the right order.

A terrific example of how one organization seemed to get things completely wrong was reported recently by the Washington Post, which wrote about a public school in Elwood, New York, where the principal and four kindergarten teachers decided to cancel the annual year-end kindergarten show.

The reason? According to the letter sent home to parents, the school reached the conclusion that the time would be better spent on academic pursuits and making sure that the children are college and career ready.

That's right. The kindergarten students couldn't put on a play because they would be too busy getting ready for college and beyond.

Give me a break.

Now, with some justification, critics of this incredibly stupid decision are blaming new educational standards, which put teachers and administrators in the position of having to teach to the test, making sure that kids do well in all the various assessments they are being given. It would be my perception that too much attention is being given to regurgitation, and not enough to learning … but I also don't think that this problem can entirely attributed to federal education standards. I can remember my now 27-year-old son telling us when he was pretty young how he could tell the difference between good teachers and bad teachers. Bad teachers teach the subject, he said, and good teachers teach the kids. Out of the mouths of babes…

I also think that while this seems to be an education-specific misstep, there probably are plenty of instances when businesses make similar ill-considered moves. They think more about process than people; they focus less on connecting the dots of the big picture and more on painting by the numbers.

This isn't smart for business. It isn't smart for education. It isn't the way to set priorities.

That's what's on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: