I've made the principal aware of these concerns -- little has changed. I would like to be part of the solution, not the problem, and I want my son to have the kind of kindergarten experience he deserves before he launches into 12 years of gradually increasing work. Any suggestions?
It's good that you want to be a part of giving your child the education that he deserves. Talk to the kindergarten teacher about why certain things are being done and the outcomes that she is hoping to achieve. Then, give the teacher a chance, especially if your child is happy and not having any difficulties with the program.
This kindergarten program is obviously different from the one your other child had. Do look for the positives. Your child will definitely benefit from learning centers. They are a wonderful part of the kindergarten curriculum because they provide young children with the hands-on experiences that they need in order to truly learn. And don't knock cutting and pasting, which build the fine-motor skills necessary for handwriting.
On the other hand, 30-40 minutes of teacher-directed instruction about learning centers is excessive. Few children can listen for such long periods of time, and most will quickly become disinterested in the activity. Plus, effective teachers have solid time-management skills.
If the teacher's explanation of the kindergarten program and your observations of the classroom confirm your views that the program needs to be improved, approach the principal again. This time have other parents with similar views join you in speaking with the principal. This approach is more likely to result in change.