Saturday, February 17, 2007

When all else fails give them a paper trail

This year I have been inundated with paper work that to me seems to be tyring to divert my attention on what is truly happening with our system.
At the beginning of the year my child brought home a residency questionnaire. The information was to be kept confidential and my child would not be discriminated against. They wanted to know if my child was homeless, and where exactly was I living. Now forgive me for my ignorance but I am not sure me filling out this form allows my child to have an exemplar education. I refused to fill it out. I signed it and sent it in blank. Hey, it said my child would not be discriminated against in bold letters. The next week I get another one with the words second request highlighted on the top. I see red. I send it in again blank.
As far as I am concerned if I don't feel like filling out the form, I don't have to. Last I checked we still have privacy laws.
I got another notice said third request. I sent back a letter saying I am not going to fill out the form stop sending it back to me. I got the response that it is vital that it is filled out ALL schools received them.
Ummm, HELLO, I have a child in another NYC Public School and did not get this notice from him. Granted there are 2 million children in his big high school. Okay so I exaggerate there are only a little more that 4,200.
Also from speaking to my friends the Middle School did not receive it either.

Next notice.
It is now required that Student Health Insurance Information be update annually.
I needed to let the school know if my child has health insurance.
So me, the big privacy is important advocate said, now why in the hell do they need to know if my child is insured? Oh I know they want to sell me insurance.
What is the kick back? So..................Pissed Off does not send it in.
Same scenario for a different form. Second request highlighted in yellow.
The Secretary must think I am daft. I did not sign it. You would think she would get the hint.
One day after school as I am picking up my wee one his teacher says umm Pissed Off can you please fill out the insurance form letter, Miss Secretary is going to blow up if you don't. Okay she did not say that but she did ask me nicely. I said, I am sorry Miss lovely first grade teacher but I have to write Miss Secretary and tell her that is not the DOE's business. That is unless they are planning on paying for my family's health insurance.
Well being that I am busy. You know with that pesky thing called work and the children and home life make me a little crazy at times. I forgot to write the letter. What to my wondering eyes do I get the next day in my little ones folder? A nice nasty letter from the Secretary telling me to fill out the form. It was addressed to me not to Mr. & Mrs. Pissed Off.
It said either fill out the form or simply leave it blank. I wanted to send it back shredded but filled out. Instead I sent it back blank not signed.

Next notice: my school wanted to know my intent of my where I was going to live next year. If I was moving. They needed to know right NOW, this particular moment. I am not moving I have lived here for 18 years. I wish I was moving but no I am not.

Now why do I rant about these particular letters. I shall tell you.
I want to know why a letter was not sent home informing me that the
Chancellor was going to be at our local district office to address the DOE's new changes. New changes, old changes, they are still the wrong changes. I found out about the meeting about a half hour before it was to begin.
That brings me to another point.
My middle guy gets automated phone calls from his school to let me know if he is absent. But I never get automated messages about meetings?
I did get one automated message for parent's of Juniors explaining about the SAT's, College Aid, how to apply for College's etc.Unfortunately the meeting was the day before we received the phone call. Typical of the DOE. Just like asking Parents to attend meetings at 11am at any particular location with giving you a day's notice. Like we can just take the morning off from work to voice our discourse with the system.

This also goes for the cell phone ban. Another tool to get the parent's worked up into a frenzy while they dismantle the system more,but that is another post for another time.


Pissed Off said...

We share a name. We must be related. We have the same issues. I felt just like you when my kids were in school, both public schools. Now I just get angry about the way kids today are treated. When you are teaching as long as I am, you start to think about these kids as your own.

Keep on refusing to fill out the forms.

And the HS your older kid goes to might not be as good as the principal is trying to make you believe it is.

NYC Educator said...

I think you'd enjoy Class Size Matters:

And I suggest you get on their mailing list. You'll get a lot of info from like-minded folks that you rarely see in the tabloids or the Times.

Pissed Off Mom said...

I do love to buck the system and that is why I refuse to fill out forms. Especially the silent lunch form the enforce on elementary school children. I would like to see the Principal sit silenty at lunch.
I am already part of the mailing list for class size matters it is what inspired me to start this blog.