Friday, March 19, 2010

I enrolled a child in school yesterday

I spent a few hours at our local high school enrolling a foster child. There were quite a few things that annoyed me about the whole process.

1) The forms asks if the child is A) Hispanic or B) Non-Hispanic.

Since when has the entire world been divided into two categories? Why is Hispanic so darn special that they get to define everyone else as a "Non."

2) The questions about race are annoying. The form lists about a dozen different options for Asian (Hmong, etc.) and some other pet minorities (American Indian, Pacific Islander, etc.). None of the categories applied to our foster child who is from Iraq. She could either pick "white" or "black."

3) The questions about the parents are annoying. The form asked about my marital status and educational background and the names of the other children in the house hold (which I left blank).

I understand why it would be a good idea to track children in family groups but the questions still seemed intrusive.

4) We were told that our foster child could NOT wear either a solid red or solid blue shirt to school or even near the school. The school assured us that there was not a gang problem on campus, "just a few gang want-a-be's." Oh, that made me feel so much better, especially since I could see them hanging around all over the school.

5) The guidance counselor, who by the way was very nice, explained all the class options where the student could get "easy" credits.

A foreign born student in foster care does benefit from "easy credit" but hasn't a diploma lost its value when it is so "easy" to get.

6) The public school system does a wonderful job of teaching children about their "rights" and nothing about their responsibilities. I can't go into any more details here.

7) The school has the craziest class schedule.

I know this dates me, but when I was a kid, we had 7 class periods every day. While this school does have 7 class periods, most students are encouraged to take only 6 classes and one of those is a study hall.

Students attend those 6 classes on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Wednesday and Thursday are block schedule. On Wednesdays, the student starts an hour later and attends classes 2, 4, and 6. On Thursdays, the student attends classes 3, 5, 7.

Oh, except this Friday, she will miss a class for some sort of pep rally-awards ceremony.

Go figure.

8) The enrollment process is very inefficient.

They ask for the same information over and over again. I wanted to write, "Just go back and look at form 1. It's all there."

Now, I'm off to homeschool co-op. Hallelujah!

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education


Anonymous said...

I agree with you regarding the forms and questions. Our child started government school again after homeschooling for a few years, her choice. It isn't a one time thing either, I am constantly being given forms to fill out. I don't though. The most intrusive are the financial forms, how much money EXACTLY does the family have and earn.

The block scheduling is, or can be, wonderful. I was talking to my daughter about this the other day actually. By having so much time in the classes we were able to get so much done. Take pre-cal for example, how much instruction can a teacher give with only 45 min a day? With all the paperwork they have to do, it was only 20-30 minutes at best. When they are in blocks, the kids can concentrate and understand the subject better. Of course, that is ideally what will happen.


Jill said...

These poor foster kids, they could so benefit by being home with at least one parent who could love them and help them develop skills to survive and thrive instead of being corralled with a bunch of hoodlums, where they are going to learn nothing productive.

Foster kids already are having life struggles..they aren't generally speaking the kind of kids that will go to school to acquire knowledge, they are there to find acceptance. Until our most basic needs of love, protection and provision are met, we do not look for more intangible information. I would love to hear how your foster kid's journey goes..would you consider joining our Everything homestead and homeschool forum a ?

gary said...

Sounds a lot like the census form I just filled out. I wondered the same thing. Why ask all the racist (yes, racist) questions? If they are going to to ask, why can't I assert my European heritage if it's not Hispanic?

mrs dani said...

The whole thing with having "race" mentioned is because of money. If a school can show the federal government they have a lot of minorities they can get special funds and grants.

CaptiousNut said...

But why would you enroll the foster child?

Can't you homeschool them too?

Janine Cate said...

>Can't you homeschool them too?

Not without a court order and/or parental consent. By law, we must enroll the child in school.

It is possible that some time in the future our foster child could be homeschooled, but most social workers are very leery of homeschooling and would not recommend it to the court.

Grizzly Mama said...

That's a shame. I'm sure that your foster child would benefit greatly in the safe and loving environment that you are able to provide.

My girls are finishing up their 2nd year in a traditional school setting. Private school. MASSIVE waste of money and time. I can hardly wait until it's over. We are homeschooling starting in the fall. I can hardly WAIT!

I'll have to do a post about everything that annoyed the hell out of me with this school.

Sebastian said...

When I was working on my ed degree, lo these many years ago, I had an instructor who was a teacher at a school that had recently instituted block scheduling and eliminated lunch (at a high school, long story, the kids were out by about 1 pm and had longish periods between classes where they could snack).
One of the surprise outcomes was that the number of fights and other reported incidents of student conflict went way down. The theory from the staff was that the blocks had dropped the number of times students encountered each other in hallways by more than half.

Mrs. C said...

I can see why the social worker might be a little leery given that the foster child probably came from a bad situation at home in the first place. The number one thing is keeping this child safe no matter where she goes to school. I know this had to be hard for you guys to enroll her to satisfy the state (which, technically, is really the one deciding what happens to her for the present moment).

Thank you, Cates, for all you do for the children in the community. You guys are awesome. :)

Rebecca Capuano said...

It's interesting to see all of the red tape you had to go through; the bureaucratization of public school. I experienced that myself in my work with at-risk kids for many years. It's just one of many reasons I choose to home school. For more reasons, and a look at what the education of the future is moving toward, check out this article:

R. Hansen said...

I just filled out that same form for my kids at the homeschool-charter school we attend. White, on our form at least, covers asian, european, and middle eastern. Nice, huh?

Jodi M. Johnson said...

Well with those unnecessary complications towards learning there will be more and more people who will surely opt for home school. Aside from quality education you can provide your foster child, you can continuously shower him with love and acceptance which he surely needs the most as well.

Angela said...

The combination of asking if the child is Hispanic, and specifying that certain colors may not be worn, makes me think that in point of fact the school (or surrounding area) *does* have a gang problem, and some of the gangs in the area are Hispanic. I remember reading (in the last year or so) that schools in places like Los Angeles enroll some kids based on what gang they're in.

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