Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fun with school registration forms

Mr. Attitude has "Kindergarten Roundup" tomorrow afternoon, where next fall's kindergarten class gets to see the classroom, meet the teachers, and get evaluated for readiness. Mr. Attitude of course has already been to the school many times for Calvin and Starflower's conferences and activities, so he knows the ropes, and I think the teachers already know him.

Accompanying this event, of course, is a pile of paperwork which I am completing right now. Some of it is mandated by the state: what language do you speak at home (I'm thinking of writing in "Saami and Gaelic"), what nationality/race/ethnic background the child is (do you want the full or abbreviated pedigree?), etc.

The pink form in front of me right now is called the "Kindergarten Readiness Checklist", which puzzles me because nothing on the entire first side has anything to do with readiness. It asks for basic info such as address, birthdate, then an ominous bold headline reads: "THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS NEEDED TO PUT ON YOUR CHILD'S PERMANENT RECORD" ("child's permanent record" underlined for added emphasis). Wow. Serious stuff. THE PERMANENT RECORD. I remember being too afraid to speak up in class because every time I was wrong it might go on My Permanent Record.

Anyway, here's the stuff they are requesting for THE PERMANENT RECORD, and some of the responses I'm tempted to fill in.

Parents' nationality: Father Samoan, Mother Laplander

Parents' health: I'm tempted to go into excessive detail...actually I'm leaving it blank. None of their business.

Parents' denomination: tens and twenties? Really, are they prohibited from writing the word "religious" on the form to clarify the question a bit? Another blank. I'm not even sure myself.

Parents' occupation: Occupied.

Business address and phone: I don't work for a business, I work for the State.

Marital status: They have blanks for both "Married" and "Living together". If we're married and living together, are we required to check both blanks?

Brothers and sisters: name, sex,age, birth date, and birthplace... Okay, I can understand name, sex and age. But why would their birthplaces need to be on Mr. Attitude's PERMANENT RECORD?

Members of household other than parents and siblings: Name: Sally Sex: Female Age: 1 Position in household: Dog, often curled up on the bed.

Dwelling: They didn't have a category for "undersize cabin".

Do you live on a farm? This one actually made me think. I wrote yes.

Does your child have a room of his/her own? Yes. under construction. If not, shared with whom? 4 family members, two dogs, two to three cats, etc.

Special interests or hobbies: Bidding on eBay items from sellers in the UK. Watching "The Big Lebowski".

A few more basics, then: Is your child extremely shy or quiet?


just ask any employee of any store he's been in with his dad. :)

What types of control are most frequently used? Mostly remote and Game Cube. Oh, you mean behavior control? You mean I'm supposed to CONTROL my child, as if he were a TV or Game Cube? I prefer unconditional love, respect, and openness myself. But I've been known to yell sometimes.

And, finally after a couple mundane health-related questions: Is there anything special that you would like the kindergarten teacher to know about your child?

Yes. I love him. Even when he drives me nuts. Good luck, and remember I'm trusting you with the most important person in the world.


Madcap said...


Tell 'em to go to hell!

I cannot believe the Nosy-Parkerishness of those questions!

Manerva said...

Sounds just like they are more interested in the rest of your family vs. the child. I agree with madcap, tell 'em to take a flying leap!

Deb said...

madcap and manerva- they had another form asking for his social security number (madcap, I assume you have an equivalent in Canada) so they could...and this is where it gets vague...track students and state funding and stuff. I dunno, with identity theft running rampant, they can come up with their own number to track him on this venture. I don't recall giving out an SSN for Calvin or Starflower, or for that matter, even a birth certificate. Best not to leave too many tracks.

And, just why are they interested in whether he has his own bedroom? I'm glad they didn't ask about toilet facilities...could really get in trouble...

Rurality said...

Why in the world would they need to know all that?! Are you leaving it blank or filling it in?

Deb said...

rurality--mostly leaving it blank. What the f--? Calvin and Starflower were both registered after the fact. I don't remember this BS for them. I don't even remember having to show an official copy of a birth certificate!

Floridacracker said...

Whoa Deb,
Has Minnesotarctica become the new USSR?
I work in public schools and I agree, that form is waaayyy too intrusive.

They need: contact numbers and names, health info, and then, any personal info you WANT to share to help the teacher get to know your child.
That form is just out of line.

Deb said...

FC- I was waiting for your input on this, because you have the perspective of both a teacher and a parent.

I agree, it's WAY out of line, and I won't satisfy the school district with providing any more than the basic information, which they already have ala Calvin and Starflower. They know where to call me if he gets sick at school, do they really need to know what church I go to, if any? Like I said, the teachers already know him...Lord help us...:)

LauraHinNJ said...

I can understand a kindergarten teacher wanting to know more about a future student, but this sounds like a bit much!

Seems like a way to categorize kids and make some hefty assumptions about where they'll fit in the school community.

I think your last sentence ought to be all the school needs to know before meeting him.

Deb said...

LauraHinNJ- Thank you. I think it would be an awesome responsibility to be a kindergarten teacher, and to try to give each student what he/she needs to feel good about him/herself in the classroom. And, to live up to my last sentence/challenge. Each child is important.

elise said...

I really like your blog and I've been a reader for awhile but have never commented but I just feel like I HAVE to offer a word of support! I always feel like I am that trouble maker parent when dealing with the school - no one wants to speak up. I really do try to control myself and let things slide but I would definitely not fill in all that personal stuff. I have nothing to hide but its just the point of it!

Okay, again nice blog and now I will go back to leaving you alone ha ha!

Lynne said...

OMG- that's way too much information they're asking for. I have no idea what difference some of that info would make in welcoming and teaching your little guy.

I DID enjoy your answers though! :)

Carolyn H said...

You simply *must* turn in this questionnaire as you would like to answer these questions and as you did in today's post. Many of the questions are simply none of their business and someone needs to tell them so (in so many words). Go for it!

Carolyn H.

eva said...

Farm-interesting question.... are they thinking mad cow disease, avian flu or hand, foot and mouth disease? Or just generally cantankerous farmer kids?

Deb said...

elise- thanks for commenting! I've probably been labeled a "troublemaker" already for questioning the status quo on a few things, but hey...we all want what's best for our kids!

lynne- I know the teachers enough to think they probably don't even read that stuff. Our school is small enough that probably everyone knows everything through the grapevine anyway. :)

Carolyn H- I almost did, especially listing the dog under "other members of household", but I chickened out. I left a lot of blanks though.

eva- welcome! And, I'm wondering about that too. Maybe it's part of some long term top secret demographic study.

Deb said...

Oh, and Starflower's kindergarten teacher commented to me as we were leaving: "He's very sure of himself!"

That's my Attitude! Bring on the world!