Friday, August 22, 2008

stinking bueraucrats

I'm the process of trying to get Rachel properly into first grade at school.

She misses the cutoff date in our district by two weeks, so ordinarily she would be starting kindergarten in a few weeks. Ordinarily, except I homeschooled her for kindergarten, and basically got her to the level where academically she's ready to start second grade.

I did this with Evangeline three years ago, explained everything nicely to the superintendent's office, and got a letter from them essentially saying, "Hey, no problem. We'll put her in our system as a first-grader." I gave that to the charter school, and bang! zoom! she was in. No problem, right?

Not this year. This year I sent a letter and got a phone call from the superintendent saying he needed more information about the course of study we used before he could approve such an exception. So I wrote him a detailed letter explaining what material I used to teach Rachel to read, how I taught her to tell time and count change, what math books I used, and made up a checklist showing her levels of progress and achievement for kindergarten throughout the year. I e-mailed it to him as requested, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Today I took a printout of the e-mail and its attachments to his office and gave them to his secretary. She was really nice; we chatted a bit, and it turns out she knows my name, and has seen the letter herself. She stamped the correspondence as received, and added a Post It note saying that I needed a response from him. (As I myself had indicated in each letter I have sent him.)

School starts in two weeks and I can't get a letter from this guy saying that Rachel is OK for first grade. Fortunately I've talked with the education directors at the charter school so they know that Rachel already is at or past a first-grade level in her subjects, so she can be educated accordingly. (At least we hope. I have fears that they won't know what to do with her, either. That was a problem Evangeline had three years ago.)

So what accounts for the foot-dragging this time around at the superintendent's office? Two things. For starters, relations between the charter school and the local district have soured somewhat over funding issues. Secondly, I'm beginning my third year on the charter school board of trustees. My name goes out on all the school's official correspondence, so the superintendent knows who I am, and he knows I'm not just a parent in the crowd.

I hope he surprises me and gives me that letter, but I have a sneaking suspicion he's going to drag his feet into the school year if he can.

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