Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Please Check One

My daughter is about to enter high school and we’re just now getting around to filling out all the forms. At the beginning of the summer she brought home a packet of about 87 forms to fill out. Anyone who glanced at my profile knows how much I enjoy filling out forms.

For starters, we always get hung up on the space where you’re supposed to check your ethnic background. There is a box to check if you are Hispanic. There is a box to check if you are white and non-Hispanic. There is no box to check if you are white and Hispanic.

Sometimes there’s a consequence for filling these things out incorrectly. When my daughter entered kindergarten, I completed a form that asked what languages were spoken at home. I dutifully answered English and Spanish. Had there been enough room on the form I might have explained that about 99.9 percent of the Spanish spoken at home was by my husband, in phone conversations with relatives in Mexico, and that attempts to raise our offspring as bilingual had been muy mediocre at best. But a half-inch rectangle wasn’t enough space.

It wasn’t until my daughter was about to finish first grade that we learned she’d been pulled out of the classroom on a regular basis for nearly two years for ESL instruction. Later they made such a celebration of her being certified as English proficient that we didn’t have the heart to tell anyone that English had in fact been her first, and thus far only, language.

This time around when we came to a form titled ‘Home Language Survey’, I let my daughter fill it out.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

Oh geez...mine starts high school in 2 weeks. And I feel the same way about forms...and they just keep coming and coming and coming...