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Throwing Up Hurdles

One of the best ways to improve student performance is encouraging parental involvement. During his last State of the State, Governor Richardson blew a lot of hot air about spending money in order to encourage parental involvement. How do I know it was hot air? All I have to do is look at the hurdles APS throws up (subscription) to keep parents out of the schools:

But for many potential APS volunteers, the bureaucratic red tape and expense involved isn’t worth it. For example, APS doesn’t accept cash, checks or credit cards. Only money orders or cashier’s checks will do.

“This was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever gone through,” Hadwiger said about his experience in April. “I could not have sat down and spent a month creating a system that was as inefficient, and absolutely burdensome, as this one.”

What kind of system doesn’t take cash, checks or credit cards? For that matter, why charge for fingerprinting if parental involvement is so important. And why make parents go down to a centralized location to get fingerprinted? They have to take their kids to school, so why not have fingerprinting stations set up at back to school night or on the first day of school?