Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dad fails to charter unique code for unique girl

Last summer my wife told me to submit an application for our oldest daughter to attend a local charter school. I said, “What? She is like 3. Pretty sure we have some time.”

She said, “Your daughter is 4. And we don’t have a lot of time. There is a waiting list.”

“Is this one of those schools where there are yet-to-be-born children on the waiting list?”

“Probably.”

“Okay I will do it tomorrow. One question.”

“What?”

“What is a charter school?”

My wife delved into some explanation that did not necessarily serve as an answer to my question. So I looked online. According to Wikipedia, “a charter school is an alternative education system where a school receives public funding but operates independently.” So basically … I still don’t know. It sounds like a charter school is a school that has its cake and eats it, too, and also we pay for the cake.

Nevertheless, I filled out the application under the impression that the school would prefer a child who came from less than ordinary circumstances. How many applications can they read where a Caucasian child born to responsible parents is exhibiting typical behavior? BO-RING. You want a kid to be on the dang brochure, like, “See? We don’t discriminate.”

So yeah, I wrote about the adoption; about the litany of therapies; about all the stuff that provides daily challenges for us but may give us an advantage when it comes to stuff like this. There weren’t actually areas provided for this info, so I squeezed it in as I saw fit:

Current age: 4 (but she was nine months when we ADOPTED her. Drug exposed child, poor thing. We got her in therapy right away, which has been wonderful. Strong, resilient girl. Probably a result of her partial Mexican heritage.)

I clicked submit and waited for them to call me on the phone in the next 10 minutes to accept her sight unseen. Instead I received a generic email confirming my application and “thank you for applying, blah, blah, blah.”

Fast forward months later, and we were talking to our friends who also applied to the same school on behalf of their son. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been accepted, but earned a less than promising spot on the waiting list. I said, “Wait, how did you find out?” My buddy said, “I checked the website on the dates provided, like the confirmation email told me to.”

Oh. My wife looked at me lovingly.

I made a mental note to check the following day, but on that day the current school our daughter attends called me to say, “Hi, we have your daughter in the front office again and she’s been a bit difficult to control today and blah, blah, blah.”

It wasn’t until weeks later I remembered to check her application. When I finally did, I entered the “unique code” I was given in my confirmation email—in 2014, your child’s education and general future is determined by a combination of random numbers and capital letters that is sent to you online, just as the forefathers predicted. Their website said, “The code you entered is not in our system.”

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is, our daughter won’t be going to a charter school, or at least that charter school, in part because I forgot to check her application status. We’re off to a good start here.
It’s too bad because I think she would have done well there. She really enjoys school and the discipline of a structured rout—hold on, sorry … her school is calling.

Note: This column appears in the 1/16 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/17 issue of the Peoria Times.

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