almost there

The summer is winding down.  We we will heading out on Friday after work for a quick trip to MO for Tom’s family reunion.  We will get back Sunday evening leaving just enough time to choose first day of school outfits and calm any nervous jitters.  I’ll be using Brandy for this purpose.  The kids will have to meditate.

I am hoping to receive paperwork from the kids respective schools this week confirming bus schedules etc.  St. Paul Public Schools really lets it go down to the wire.  I double checked with the placement center last week to confirm that Patrick is indeed on the list for his new  Jr. High.  Although they assured me he was, I didn’t receive his school specific enrollment packet which was supposed to be to every family by today.  I will have to truck myself into the school on my way to work tomorrow morning to pick up the packet and confirm for myself that he is on the attendance roster.  We were just in there last Wednesday to register him for classes, which I  hoped would solidify things.

There was a brief news item in the paper the other day that reported that up to 300 parents arrive at the St. Paul Public Schools placement center on the first scheduled day of school to enroll their child.  In other words these parents haven’t given a thought to which school their  kid will be attending until the first day of school arrives.  Really?  There was a packet of information that came in the mail last week reminding St. Paul parents to enroll their child in school before Sept 7th. Enclosed was a DVD with helpful tips on how parents can stay involved in their child’s education and support their quest for college enrollment. To further the point, our dinner was interrupted last evening with a pre-recorded phone call reminding parents that school begins on September 7th.  Really?  Can’t we expect some responsibility on the part of parents versus having to spoon feed them the most basic of information?

Is it really possible that the first scheduled day of school escapes some parents’ radars?  Are there really parents out there that don’t begin counting down the days until the first day of school on their calendars like I do?   Holy crap, the Old Navy ads on tv pushing hoodies and other back to school fashions should be clue number one.

As much as I joke about this phenomenon it is really evidence of a sad crisis in our society.  Families living transient lifestyles due to poverty, drug addiction, abusive relationships etc may move frequently forcing children to start over one or more times per year at different schools.  We expect teachers to be accountable for raising test scores in poverty stricken school boundaries, yet many of their students will not complete one full year at their school.

I don’t have a solution for the crisis of low test scores and ever broadening achievement gaps between whites and minorities.  What I do know is that supporting your child’s education is a full time job.  Unfortunately, there will always be parents out there that are not up to the task.


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