What is it with school districts and their obsessive need to do things their way? Particularly if their way is out of compliance with the law, and impacts the homeschool community?
My recent run-in with this is minor: Overcoming the hurdles of filing the annual Declaration of Intent to Homeschool. State law mandates what is supposed to be on the form, and who it’s supposed to go to. This seems like a fairly simple business: quote a bit of legal code, ask for child’s name and age, an address, check the box if their education is overseen by a supervised teacher or not, and send to the local superintendant’s office.
The last I checked, there were NO districts in the state that had a form fully in compliance with the law. In fact, when people have tried to work with the district to get them in compliance, it lasts maybe a year or two… and then the district changes the form and they’re back out of complaince again.
My own frustrations are with the district we just left and the district we just moved into. Both have forms that want more information than they’re legally entitled to. The new district has a whole “You do realize that if you insist on homeschooling that we won’t honor it or issue any credits or diplomas for it” section (I’m paraphrasing) that they want checked off. (As if their diplomas and credits are more valuable than the education homeschooling kids recieve!)
One issue I had to deal with today was checking to see what district we’re in. Our district has a rather vague district map on the website that shows no streets. The map on the website is quite small. Are we in the district or not? Can the super’s office answer this simple question? NO!
This seems like a fairly easy question to answer. Is no one in the district office able to read a map? Do they have maps? Do they know what maps are? But, wait… this is the public school district. Perhaps my expectations are too high.
They re-routed me to the bus (“Transportation”) department. They aren’t in.
The other issue that I had to call about today was that I needed the superintendant’s address to send the declaration form to. The address on the district’s form isn’t the superintendant’s. Districts seem to just hate to give out the super’s mailing address. By all means, don’t bother the superintendant with your forms! We have someone else for that.
It all boils down to me repeating, “Yes, but the LAW says that the form is to be mailed to the superintendant,” about five times, followed by, “He can then send it to whomever he wants.” After a few trips around the crazy cycle, they finally gave me the address and hung up.
Given my other run-ins with the districts, which is a whole other story, I’ve come to a few conclusions.
First: School districts have a culture that honestly believes that they are above the law. If they want to do something – anything – they are entitled to do it however they want. Bringing attention to the lack of compliance results in confusion on the district’s part. Not confusion as to the content of the law, but confusion as to why the questioner has brought up such an irrelevant thing as the state legal code.
Second: District culture believes that parents with minor children are, by the sheer fact that they have procreated, not intelligent enough to raise, educate or advocate for them.
Third: Information is dangerous, and should only be released to the public when absolutely necessary. Instead, re-direct and send any person making inquiries on as wild a goose chase as possible, in the hopes that they will give up in despair.
And we wonder where our despised corporate cultures come from? Didn’t most of those people spend 12 years under the thumb of their local public school district? Talk about “learned behavior”!
Ok, rant over.