Red Tape Kindergarten Registration Questions Are Out of Control

If you've had any personal experience getting a child registered for kindergarten lately, I've got a question for you: did you have to hand over, say, a DNA sample to the school? A photograph of your underwear drawer? A printout of your browser history, maybe?

The reason I ask is because I was a little dismayed at the sheer amount of personal information I had to provide when I registered my 5-year-old a few weeks ago. Based on this post in the CafeMom forums, I'm not alone in feeling like the number of questions a person's supposed to answer about their kindergartener has become a little ... extreme.


Lina wrote that she was asked to fill out a number of seemingly invasive forms for her 5-year-old daughter's registration:

But why would the school need to know how long I was pregnant with her? What her birth weight was? If I ever got sick while pregnant? What hospital was she delivered at? (...) they also want to know the names, occupations and phone numbers of all adults living in the house. No it isn't part of the emergency contact info. That's a whole other page. It's just her dad and I so that part isn't really a big deal, but what if I lived with my parents? Or had a roommate? Why is their info relevant?

I didn't get the birth weight/pregnancy complication questions, but I was shocked at how ENORMOUS the stack of forms was. When I registered my 7-year-old for first grade last summer, we got the standard stuff: identifying info, emergency contacts, vaccination records, physical assessment. That was about it, and I don't know if things have changed in the last year or if kindergarten falls under different rules or what, but here's some of the extra stuff I had to fill out for my younger son:

• Three different proofs of address. As in, my driver's license, a document like a mortgage or rent payment, and a current utility bill. A bill older than a month? NOT ACCEPTABLE.

• A strangely detailed questionnaire about whether or not we live in an RV or a shelter. What if we DID? I kind of feel like that would be no one's business but ours, you know?

• A physical assessment from his pediatrician. As in, I was supposed to take him in for a checkup before registration and have his doctor fill out a health appraisal form, then take that in? I so did not do that.

• His dentist's contact information. Dude, I can barely remember the pediatrician's address, you think I know his dentist's info by heart? How about calling me before calling the dentist, in the unfortunate event he knocks out all his teeth on some playground equipment?

• Race & ethnicity forms, the migrant education eligibility survey (do we work in the fishing or logging industry?), home language survey, request for student records, and official designation of no less than three emergency contacts. OMG. Pen cramp.

Anyway, I understand a lot of this stuff has statistical purposes, but I can't help but wonder just how many parents really manage to plow through each and every document. Sadly, the one form I was most looking forward to was the payment for full-day kindergarten -- which got canceled this year due to budget cuts. Maybe processing all that paperwork is getting a little expensive.

Have you also noticed kindergarten registration seems unusually regulated?

Image via Kevin H/Flickr

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