Friday, October 21, 2011

We Are Not in Kansas Anymore

I am utterly convinced that one of the top raisons d'etre for middle school is to give parents a heart attack. I'm serious. My daughter just started middle school this year (in 5th grade!) and I can remember in June being told, "Don't worry, we REALLY coddle the 5th graders". What a crock! The school has gone out of its way to withhold information that would make the transition SO much easier.

Here's what we didn't know going in on the first day (what I did know could be tattooed on my pinkie toe): we didn't know who was in her class, her homeroom teacher's name or her schedule. We didn't know what the policy was for staying after school. In fact there really isn't one. Apart from one form signed in week 2 my 10 year old can walk out of school at 2:30 and do whatever she likes. Maybe that's why her school photos this year included two free "Smilesafe Safety ID cards" which have a picture of my daughter above instructions on what to do if she is kidnapped.

I got a school bulletin in today's mail which talks a little bit about some of the clubs she could join which would have been useful, oh, about 6 weeks ago. I especially enjoyed the section on upcoming events, all of which have already taken place. Meanwhile, these kids are expected to show up on time, homework done, musical instrument in hand, gym shoes on feet (as relevant) working on not a Monday-Friday schedule which would be FAR too simple but a 6 day schedule. WHY????? And let me tell you, there is NO margin for error.

It all adds up to a whole lot of unnecessary stress, both for students and the parents who are left to pick up the mess. I'd bring it up at the parent/teacher conferences but I just found out - through another parent, not the school, natch - that they don't have such a thing unless you specifically request it. Fabulous.

Move over "Occupy Wall St.", I'm in the mood to protest.

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