Crazy Crazy. Schools in California – Part 2

I have written previously  about the hothouse environment of Californian schools:

The schooling is good in America. There is no question about that. If you’re in a good school district with attentive parents; the world’s your oyster. You can move from elementary to middle school to High and onto the Ivy Leagues. You also have access to all the sporting opportunities you could wish for.
One of the girls in our neighborhood was recently  accepted into the oldest architecture college in the US.
One of her best friends competed in the Olympics in 2012. Both families immigrated to the U.S. when they were young.
I have a manny, (Male Nanny), who tutors my ADHD child. He received preferential admission to MIT for the next college year.
America IS the land of opportunity.
But America is hard on the parents of school age children. My middle son son has learned to game the system. I recently said to him, “Do your homework or you’ll get in trouble with the teacher”. As quick as a wink, he looked at me and said:
“No Mom. You’ll get in trouble”. 
He’s right. Parents are routinely held to account for student’s performance. If you fall short you are told. I recently received the following:

“California State Education Code mandates that schools/districts notify parents/guardians if their child accumulates three or more days of unexcused absences or unexcused class periods during the school year.  In addition to the State Education Code, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District notifies parents/guardians if a student has had irregular attendance (high numbers of tardies or excused absences) during the school year.  You are receiving this letter because your student has had at least 10 periods marked as ‘TDY’ during the 2012-13 school year.

I admit I was late dropping my child off on the following occasions noted on the “Tardy Notice” :

12/19/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 11/01/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 10/24/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/28/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/26/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/20/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/19/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/11/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/06/2012 – 1 TDY(s), 09/04/2012 – 1 TDY(s)

These are all “Wednesdays”. Our school employs a “Wacky Wednesday” system where children start at a different time on wednesdays to allow for teacher development later in the day. I am from a country where kids go to school 9am – 3pm. 

A mountain lion finds it hard to change her spots.
I generally  roll up to school half an hour after the Wednesday start time and get all butt-hurt to find I’m in trouble

“Our goal is to educate your child and we cannot be successful if your child is not in school and on time.”
Paragons of virtue.

“Truant, unverified, unexcused, excessive excused absences, and tardies, affect the student’s education and increase their chances for failure.  Tardies interrupt the classroom and interfere with the learning environment for all students.  The school wants to work with you and your student to attend school regularly and be on time.”
Work with this:

“If you are receiving this because of excessive days marked as “ill”, we have also enclosed a “chronic illness form”.  After 10 days marked “ill”, sites may request a note from the student’s doctor, excusing any additional absences.  Without a note from the doctor, any additional days of “illness” will be marked as unexcused.  We want to work with you.  The purpose of the “chronic illness form” is to provide the school with documentation regarding your student’s illness and, although it doesn’t “excuse” future absences related to their chronic illness, it does prevent the parent/guardian from needing to have a note each time their child is absent related to the illness.”

“If your student is chronically tardy, we would be happy to meet with you and your student to discuss strategies to improve their being on time to school/class every day.  Continued tardies will result in a referral to the District’s School Attendance Review Board (SARB).”
Good luck with that one. 

Remind me to hand them a big cup of “Who Gives  shit”.

If you have questions, please contact The School

Thank you for your support and attention to this matter.


 Your friendly anal principal.

 I keep bemoaning the fact that Californian schools are not as relaxed as New Zealand schools. However, if we were to return to NZ (unlikely) I would wonder why the children weren’t being pushed so much.

 But please New Zealand schools. Fer God’s sake, stay real.  

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