Google+ Georgia On My Mind: Poor Planning With School Registration...Who Is To Blame?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Poor Planning With School Registration...Who Is To Blame?

I was glad to see WSB News did not place the Clayton County School System as the bad guy in the recent reports concerning the crowds that deluged county board offices yesterday and today. The reports have stated that there were over 1,000 people in line attempting to register their children.

Imagine owning a television repair service and having 1,000 people showing up at your office wanting immediate service. The problem is they forgot the television. How could you help them? You couldn’t. Not until they bring the television. Okay, I realize my analogy may be a little off, but I want to post this and don’t have time to think of something really neat.

Most counties in the metro area have begun asking parents to register their children in one centralized location in the county….usually the county board office. In this way everyone is told the same thing and paperwork is streamlined. Most non-educators have no idea how the school-site offices become so clogged with parents three or four days before school starts wanting to register their children. You simply can’t move for the crowd and there isn’t enough room in the school-site offices for more than 10 people at a time in the outer offices. The paperwork is involved…..several pages. Many don’t have the shot records they need, social security cards, and in so many more cases now than ever before. the necessary divorce agreements so that educators know who they legally can talk and legally can’t. At the high school level discipline records have to accompany new move- ins as well, since we are getting more violent students in record numbers.

Actually I personally feel the main reason registration now occurs in one central location has to do with the safety of the office personnel. Parents verbally abuse the office staff when they are simply complying with state and local rules. With accountability the number one rule these days most school employees would rather be cussed out than told good bye by the school system for not obtaining the correct documentation. In years past when on-site regstration was still going on I’ve seen deputies on duty in the office to maintain order and I have seen pushing and shoving matches underway by parents in line.

I realize Clayton County has had and still has numerous problems with their school system, however, what I see is an ongoing non-educator problem….mainly parents. They lost their accreditation not too long ago because some of the elected school board members kept interfering with the day-to-day operations of the schools. Recently the school super resigned on her own, or perhaps it was hinted at, and the talk is it was over test scores. Clayton still has, according to the folks I know, a huge problem with school attendance. If the kids don’t show up they can’t learn in order to pass a test. Showing up is ultimately the parent’s job. In this most recent bad publicity parents ignore news reports regarding registration news, ignore the ability they have to call the school system or access the school system website to find out what they need, and decide they’ll just show up at the tail-end of summer and demand service. Folks, it just doesn’t work that way.

I recently registered my daughter for school back in our home county after she had attended school in the county where I teach. Even though I’m an educator I checked with the school system about what to do and went on line and printed out ALL of the forms I needed. We did have one little hiccup in that I was told my daughter needed a shot update. We headed to the Health Department and were told she was up-to-date to my daughter’s immediate relief. It seems that the folks in the registering department in our school district were so overwhelmed with folks from out of state they were telling everyone they needed more shots. We got a new copy of her shot record and were done, but here’s the real reason why we didn’t stand in line…….I registered my daughter over two weeks ago. One of the Dad’s on the video tape was complaining that his daughter needed a shot and it would cost $100……..It would not cost near that amount at the the Health Department. Another line stander complained that her grandbaby had never missed a day of school and it would be the school system’s fault if a day was missed. If we really want to know why so many children today will not take responsibility for their own actions we only need to look as far as the child’s biology.

Sure I understand that there were a few people in the long lines in Clayton County who did just arrive a few days ago in the state, but you can’t tell me that everyone in that line just arrived. No way……the majority got what they deserved for their procrastination.

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