M. Giant's
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009  

Trash Talking

As promised previously, here's the first guest entry from Trash, picking up the slack for my temporary lame-itude. Enjoy!

M. Giant has mentioned that we were considering kindergarten this upcoming fall for M. Edium, but he didn't explain what led up to our even having a choice. We were quite happy having M. Edium wait another year to start school, and quite bluntly hadn't even discussed the possibility of early enrollment.

But we received a note (and then another, and then several more, followed by phone calls and a few owls) informing us that the City of Minneapolis required all children between the ages of three and five to attend a kindergarten pre-screening test, the sooner the better. We took that to mean "sooner than 1 week before kindergarten starts in 2010" and promptly forgot about it. Interestingly, that wasn't what they meant, as they demonstrated in the subsequent mail-phone-owl barrage inviting us to bring him in for a screening. Early November, that's what we did.

The district makes this MANDATORY meeting easy to access by requiring enrollment far in advance, and by offering appointment hours Tuesday afternoons, every other Thursday morning, and one Saturday morning a month. Yes, for every child age 3-5 in the district. It's convenient for everyone, really, because there aren't enough spaces for meetings, they triple-book you so you get there and wait with your irritated child, the staff is busy and pissy the day of the testing, and everyone can easily leave work for 3 hours to make the appointment. It's a win-win-win-win.

In any case, we made our appointment, picked the boy up from school, and showed up as a family at 1:45 for our appointment. We were handed a packet of papers to fill out, which were duplicates to those in the confirmation packet they sent us. The receptionist seemed taken aback when she realized we had brought and completed all of the paperwork requested in the letter. Apparently most parents ignore the contents of the missive and just show up. I envied those parents as the receptionist insisted that I re-fill out all of the paperwork there in the office.

After 2:15, when we had turned everything back into the front desk and no one seemed to want to talk to us yet, we began reading aloud to M. Edium to try and keep him occupied. Most of the books in the center were bilingual, and unless you count M. Giant's attempts to learn Spanish a few years back neither of us are, but we read, M. Edium occasionally correcting us in pronunciation. (Whatever – like he knows any better than we do). After a couple of books we noticed a women hovering around us with a clipboard, listening in and taking notes. I thought perhaps she wanted to correct our reading as well, or ask us to stop hurting the ears of those around us with our mangled articulation, but no. It turns out she is the pre-admission counselor who does the first of three intakes with the 3-5 year old child, the clipboard held M. Edium's *permanent file* and she was starting the *observation* part of her study.

She asked M. Edium a few questions about volcanoes and dinosaurs and what's the difference between lava and magma (which elicited from M. Edium his patented answer of "You Silly. Magma is inside the volcano, before the eruption." Which is code for "You are a dumb-ass.") and took some notes. She then sat down at the table and asked "So, you're here for early enrollment in the fall. I approve" and suddenly we were on a roller-coaster we hadn't asked to ride.

More on that at another time.


posted by M. Giant 10:57 AM 4 comments


"No, where here because your beuracrcy required that we show up for this meeting. We refuse to allow you to dictate the educational choices made for our child."

I'm sorry. I must be channeling my own reaction. But it rubs me the wrong way when outsiders in the government think they know better than parents who spend vastly more time with there children.

By Blogger John, at February 25, 2009 at 11:14 AM  

Ha - we did the Minneapolis screening in January & had a similar experience with the scheduling. In our case, the evaluator whisked my son away without me to do a solo evaluation, which I had not prepared my slow-to-warm-up guy for at all. I was another parent who had to fill out the forms twice.

By Blogger yasmara, at February 26, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

Careful with that. M. Edium sounds like a brilliant kid, so certainly he'd be capable of starting school now, but it's easier on boys to be at the older end of their middle and high school classes. It helps with sports, too. You never know, he could end up having a passion for basketball, and that little edge could make a huge difference.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM  

Oh god, we're expecting our first in August.

Thanks for confirming that I will soon begin to live a Kafkaesque nightmare.

By Blogger GhostGirl, at February 28, 2009 at 7:35 AM  

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