Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First view of the system

So yesterday we went to the school district building to start the enrollment process for R2. We are way, way late, as school starts on Monday. But we've been fasting and praying to see if we should do public school this year, and didn't want to make a decision till after the Call.

I have always wanted to homeschool my kids. I love learning and I love teaching and I love having my children with me. Over the last couple of years, though... it's become pretty clear that I'm not giving R2 everything he needs. In a love sense, in a parenting sense- I am. We're good there. Just in an academic and therapy sense, he's going to need more support. And I need more support. So we're giving the ol' system a whirl, and then hopefully he and I will have the kickstart we need to school at home for the rest of his academic career.

I saw a Spiderman lunchbox at Walmart and got choked up. This baby has been with me pretty much 24/7 for 9 years. So I know I'll miss him a lot.

Anyway, we went to the admissions building to do paperwork. It's in Downtown KC, in the old part of the city. All of the last-minute citizens of the city were there to enroll their kids a week before start day... we wandered a little but ended up paying $5 for parking across the street. 

In the building, we were sternly directed next door. Now, we have had lots of experience with government workers, and in general their morale is low, and customer service is not a priority. So we took our orders and went next door. We asked for certain paperwork, which caused a worker to RISE to his feet and scan the papers in front of us... puzzled, he says, "Uh, why don't you just fill out this one and that should work." We were greatly reassured by his confidence < /sarcasm>

So we followed the arrows around to the auditorium. As we rounded the corner, a 400 pound woman and her sister came barreling through, disgruntled. They warned us to be prepared to wait. Basically.

As we entered the auditorium, all around us were the discontent and increasingly outraged holders of "E" tickets. The administration officials at the front were still calling "D" numbers, and the masses were getting pretty teed.

The week-before crowd was comprised in large part of people with an entitlement mentality, and they were furious at the poor administrator for not calling them first. Because E81 should be seen before D70, no?

So get this... we are packed in this little auditorium , probably 200 parents and about 3 admins frantically doing paperwork and writing numbers on a whiteboard. What made it insane was the crowd was about ready to riot. These women were screaming from their chairs, insulting the poor admin, and egging each other on from around the room. 

I was totally delighted. You put a blogger in a crowd like that and the ol' memory bank starts cataloging. The spouse, not so much. He's a bit of a more practical guy and he was calculating how many hours this would probably take, and so off he went to find someone to give him the scoop on when would be the best time to come and get through faster and such.

So in the meantime, I am left in an auditorium of racially diverse but economically and socially connected people. I was beaming. I kept having to wipe the smile off my face lest someone see me and open a can of whoop-smile. 

The admins, "D70? Do we have D70?" 
The ladies in front of me, "^% no we don't have no D70. Ain't nobody with a D in here. HEY! Anybody got a D? See? Nobody! #$#%"
Admins, "D71?"
Ladies, "Absent." (laughing uproariously)

Mom, if this were a PG Wodehouse novel, this is where the Tough Eggs would begin tossing ripe fruit.

As the numbers wore on, the language deteriorated and the few remaining D's were served under much scorn and public derision. Richy came back and found the fast track was getting there at 7:45 am, when the proletariat has not yet risen. If I had been there by myself, I would have stayed and maybe even broken out my spiral and started jotting some observations. Anybody who thinks Jerry Springer is fake, I have my doubts. 

I'm not terribly concerned about the school based on these patrons, for a couple of reasons. One, this was the administration building for the whole district, not just one school. Two, these registrants were registering almost a month after the admin deadline. And three, R2 is not going to be in normal classes, he will be in the Special Ed department all day. So I took heart in that, and in the cool head of the admin who did not fear the wrath of the people. Glorious.


  1. I am so glad you guys survived. It's like a trip to the Grandview DMV! Or, in our case (check out one of my latest posts) Price Chopper.

    I hope all goes well on Try #2.

  2. from a person who has dealt w/ the dreaded "system" for 12 years w/ a foster and now adopted little brother... yes it can get chaotic, and extremely inward focused forgetting the big picture, but generally those who work in this field started there because they want to make a difference. Most of them really like to get to know those parents and families who are involved in the lives of their kids...
    And, as a friend of mine who works in Spec Ed said the other day, we can't look down on them because God has each of us on our own IEP (Individual Education Plan)
    Good analogy, no? Wish I could take credit for it...

  3. My first question is, why don't you keep your camera with you everywhere you go?

    A video would've been good, no?

    Some minor editing in of bleeps, but it would've been worth it.

  4. That would be hard to let go of R2 after 9 years at home. That crowd is probably not representative of the majority of the parents at the school, who are responsible enough to enroll prior to the deadline.

    Hopefully they will allow you to go with R2 his first day to help him get acquainted and let you meet and quiz his new teachers.

    This could be very good from him!

  5. really hate I missed that! Nothing inspires me more than a good crowd of costermongers!Just one too many who sang Sonny Boy. Our trip to the airport ranks up there in the story division with a similar bourgeousie mix and the same general sense of planning on the part of Metro Washington. mama


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