Saturday, August 21, 2010

First the Navy. Now this.

I knew it was too good to be true. The husbeast retired from the military and there was this sudden dearth of bureaucratic nonsense. I reveled. I wallowed. I enjoyed. And it's a damn good thing, because I'm back to hoop jumping and stupidity. This time, instead of Colonel Whosit, I'm faced with Doctor Whatsit, something (shrink? administrator? HMFIC*?) for the local school district.

But wait, first, the back story, so this makes more sense and I don't look dumbassed.

Back in June, when we made the offer on the house, I called the local school district about enrolling the Goober for kindergarten. I was blown off. They told me that there's a list of forms and documents needed on the web site (there is), but no one wanted to talk to me, see me, or discuss until I had the school tax form thingie (hereafter the STFT) in hand. The STFT makes me exist, essentially.

Right then. Gathered up all the needed documents. Didn't have the Goober's immunization records. After a great deal of sleight-of-hand, two months later, I think I've got those out of the Air Force medical facility in Charleston. Forget missile launch codes. Try to get medical files out of those sons of bitches. It's unreal.

Anyway. I waited for the STFT. And waited. Called the county. Waited. This week, we got our STFT. It is dated August 16. (Keep that in mind; I'd have done this back in freakin' JUNE, if I could.) It took about twenty-four hours to get someone on the phone at the school, and then, finally, they were willing to talk. With all documentation in hand, they can pretty much enroll the Goob on the spot, so I said I'd be up Monday afternoon to enroll her, after her physical Monday morning. School starts August 29, so in my world, we're cutting it pretty close.

Then I dropped the anvil into the precision works: The Goober is five days short of the cutoff date for age. (Child has to be five by September first. The Goober turns five on September sixth.) I was - stupidly, in retrospect - expecting an "oh, swing by and meet the school shrink, let them talk to your kid, sign a waiver" sort of thing. That's how it worked when I was in school, in another state, lo these many millenia ago. I mean, come on. Five fuckin' days?

Oh, no. Gee. Huh. That's a problem. I need to call Doctor Whatsit at the administration building. I call him. Oh, gee. Huh. That's a problem. Normally early admission paperwork is due in FUCKING JANUARY, but since we just moved... huh. Hm. He'd call me back.

He called back. The Goober - WHO THEY HAVE NEVER MET, WHO IS FIVE FUCKING DAYS SHORT - needs a formal psychological evaluation for IQ, social skills, and behavioral problems. Then the stuff needs to be signed off on by the freaking SCHOOL BOARD.

Okay. So where do I go for the evaluation?


So, I've spent the last two days on the phone with half the shrinks in western Pennsylvania, trying to find one who does an early school admission exam or whatever in fuck it's called. No one does them. The freaking CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL doesn't do them. What in the HELL?

Called back to the school, informed them in Polite Yet Strong Language that while I'm willing to cooperate, I can't unless they can find me someone to cooperate WITH. After ten minutes on hold, they came back with the name of one shrink they know of who does these exams.

She isn't answering her phone. I'm going by her office, in person, Monday morning.

So. That's why I haven't been blogging. I've been on the phone, waiting for a phone call, looking up phone numbers, or having myself a swoon on the back porch. To say I have brain melt is a vast understatement. I'm taking the weekend off and starting fresh Monday.

At which point my brain will melt again.

*Head Mother-Fucker In Charge; it's a military rank. Really. Just ask them.


bobbins said...

I guess the navy was training ground for your current red tape. I have every expectation that you will succeed.

Good luck - consider running for a seat on the school board. They obviously need help!

Barbara said...

Oh, goodie, it sounds like you'll be the mother they hate to see walk into the school too! I was "that mother" while my kids were in school, especially the first 10 or so since I wasn't working. It's demoralizing how clueless and downright stupid educators are.

Sic 'em!

KnitTech said...

Oh the joys of the school year. Good luck. You can always hold her back (six days) until next year and she'd be even further ahead.

PandaLark said...

It's so annoying when there's politics with the school. But if she waits the extra year, then she'll be slightly understimulated now, BUT she'll be eligible to work and operate a car when she's a sophomore in high school instead of a junior. Having been one of those who couldn't drive as a sophomore, I remember it being a big (and great) deal to be one of those who could.

Leonie said...

Wow! That's way more complicated than what happens here. She needs a medical to go to school?? Craziness. The fact that the school is less than willing to help out would make me seriously reconsider just how much I want my kid there, unless it was my only option and that's just how they do it in the US. Quite different from our Pubic School system. But maybe more like our Private school system of which I have no knowledge as a parent. Best of luck with pulling them into line.

Louiz said...

Hope you get it sorted:(

Roxie said...

Couldn't you just go in to speak to the school principal and take the Goober with and let her run riot through the office untill he crumbles to your perfectly reasonable demands? Give her a juice box and some gummy worms when you get there.

Anonymous said...

Oh no sounds like you'll have another 13 years of this unless you go to private school.


Anyone else having issues with the verification word? The first time I look it is just a box with an X in it.

Emily said...

Royal suckdom. Jeepers. Don't they have placement tests? Oh, I forgot, it's public school bureaucracy.

You could put her in private school for half the year, then transfer her? Depends on what's cheaper. If the shrink is outasight expensive, then maybe....

Pork with Bones said...

The Goober shares my birthday, and I started kindergarten at four. The deadline was 30 Sept in those days. They've since moved it to sometime in August. My mother has stated many times that had the deadline been in the 80s where it is now, she's have started me in private school and transferred me to public school for first grade.

So I guess what I'm saying is, don't give up and don't give in. I suspect Goober is (as I was) a child who would be woefully understimulated throughout her school years if she were to wait. If you need someone to rant to (without it being Google-able), feel free to email me.

David said...

::trots down to Crown Candy Kitchen::
::buys some really good fudge and a monkey cast in solid chocolate::
::packs chocolate in box::
::mails care package::

(pssst, I stood in line for two hours last Easter to get one of their Easter Monkies)

Lisa said...

Don't give up!

The idiots at my (private) elementary wouldn't let me move up to first grade, even though I could already read and write (at ~2nd grade level ish), count, and follow directions before kindergarten. This resulted in me moving up a year in the middle of 4th/5th grade. It would have been much much better to just do it early on. Don't let them try to have you hold the goober back if you know she's ready! She sounds like a smart kid and being held back will only cause more angst later.

Carol said...

Wow, I'm in California. I am raising my granddaughter after my daughter died and it's so easy to enroll a child here.
Our cut off age is Dec. 2 and Peanut was born Dec. 4. If you want your child to start early the school just needs a note from the parent. My daughter didn't start her early and then a month after she died. I enrolled her in school and all I needed was her birth certificate and immunization record. Also my court paper of guardianship. That's it. They didn't even ask where I lived.
I've never heard of having to show tax papers. I do pay my property taxes but people in apartments would not have records of that.
I would start Goob now. It will be worth it. My son who is now 32 yrs. old was born Oct. 9. I could have started him but he was immature so I held him back. That was a mistake because later he was so smart he skipped 9th grade. He ended up getting his masters in Physic. So my mistake didn't slow him down.
Good luck with all those knuckleheads. My heart goes out to you. Carol

Emily said...

Weighing in again...yeah, do your best to get the Goob where she belongs. My school system did not ever have kids skip grades, so I sailed thru elementary school basically in a trance, then in high school AP classes....WHAM. Suddenly I had to work & I had never learned how. I cannot begin to describe the terror. It was horrible.

Amy Lane said...

My head hurts now. Seriously-- but I believe that bullshit. Remember, i work in California, where the cut-off date is in DECEMBER--which means that Kewyn was four for nearly four months of Kindergarten, but starting him late would have been a huge fucking disaster.

Anyway, I feel you. *chest thump* *fist in the air* Power sister!

Georgi said...

I would rather deal with the military bureaucracy than the school district. They tortured me all the time my daughters were growing up and I deligh
Sorry to say, but this is only the beginning.

Lola said...

Something tells me you might want to bone up on homeschooling.

Donna Lee said...

We had the same problem with my oldest daughter who's birthday was just past the Sept 15th deadline. I had to wait the extra year and while it didn't hurt her, it didn't help either. And we had to have psychological testing done before she could go to school. They were not happy with her test scores because she wouldn't color in the lines. She'd never had a coloring book, only lots of paper and crayons. It was a mess.

mellian said...

My stepdaughter's b'day is Sept 5th. Cut off in Florida was/is Sept 1st as well. She had to wait a year. Now she just started her senior year, will be 18 in two weeks and is much older than everyone else in her class. In her case, as she has mild Asperger's Syndrome, it was a good thing.

But good luck in getting them to change their minds about letting her in. I grew up in Erie, Pa and went to school with kids who got in early, but that was back in the dark ages (1950's).

mellian said...

One more comment: I hate public schools. I fought with them a lot when my son was in school and have had a share in the school requirements idiocy with my stepdaughter. If you have the means at all, consider private school or home school if you have the patience for it (I didn't).

I'm tellin' ya, this is just the start of the public school craziness. They cater to the children with lesser abilities and those who use English as a 2nd language and can't keep up (No Child left behind stuff). The gifted program now is what a NORMAL program was when I was in school. A very intelligent child has no place in the public schools anymore.

Run... far away from public schools, if you can.

Experimental Knitter said...

Good luck.
Five days.
So glad I had May and June kids.

amy said...

I guess someone is always going to be a few days off the cutoff date. I have one who's on the older side, one who's on the younger side, and I prefer the older... the first half of kindergarten was very, very rough for the Young 5. (Is it full day? Ours was full day. Half day I don't think would have been nearly as hard.) But I wasn't willing to hold him back an extra year--they let people do that with no trouble, btw--because I thought he'd be bored. (If I could have homeschooled K and been guaranteed a spot in 1st, I would have.)

Statistically speaking, if she's amongst the oldest, she'll do much better in the long run than if she's amongst the youngest, if you believe Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. Made me feel guilty about my young five.

PS I also wouldn't have started school under today's guidelines, since I have a September birthday. I did just fine, but I hated when everyone could drive but me. My niece was held back by her mom (August birthday) and she hates being the oldest. By the time you get to high school I think it's just one more year to wait to escape.

PICAdrienne said...

Do we dare ask how goes the battle? We are rooting for you. Afterall, you do know her best.