Monday, August 30, 2004

Desire is for Eskimos

As I found myself increasingly obsessed with issues of national politics, these waves of political protagonism were disrupted by exceedingly local issues. Today, I engaged in a heated exchange with a superintendent of our school district. The topic of discussion - desire versus policy.

My eldest child is very close to the age cut-off for enrollment at the local elementary school. Given her academic tendencies, I felt that it was my duty as a parent to investigate our options for kindergarten.

This thinking led to the innocent inquiry, "What steps can we take for the consideration of my child in your kindergarten program?". That seemingly benign question revealed much about our local school district.

Through rampant and unchecked construction with a total neglect for infrastructure, our district has grown to be the largest in the state. This growth has led to remarkable changes in the demographics of our area. It has also established the school district as a force to be reckoned with.

My simple inquiry resulted in a hostile "policy" response. I was told that the school board "desires" strict conformity to the age guidelines. Desires? Unless there is a law or ordinance otherwise, the desires of the school board do not carry a lot of weight with me.

Yet, here I was being berated by an administrator who views the taxpayer in a different role.

In some respects, I was happy to be communicating with them at all. The receptionist was quite artful in her attempts to subvert my contact with this very "busy" official.

I responded to this administrator in the most tactful manner possible. In doing so, I also expressed my objection to desire and culture in the absence of process and policy. I am not one to accept no for an answer.

I loathe parents who carry a distorted view of their child's abilities. That said, I also respect the commitment to do what is best for a child as appropriate. My desire for my child's success is more powerful than any bureaucrat.


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