General Question

john65pennington's avatar

Is this normal pre-kindergarten procedure for a teacher?

Asked by john65pennington (29057 points ) July 19th, 2010

A friend has just told me that in order for her son to be accepted and attend a public school pre-kindergarten class, a teacher is required to come into their home for an overall family-living inspection. my friend asked my advice and i told her that i had never heard of this. she states her son cannot enroll, unless there is the inspection. she lives in Kentucky. Question: is this home inspection, by a teacher, a normal procedure in your state? also, does a teacher have the proper credentials to make this assessment of someones home and living conditions?

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42 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve lived in Delaware, Texas, and Kansas and enrolled my son in schools in each state. We’ve never had someone do a home inspection. Before Kindergarten in Delaware they had all the children come in for a general evaluation so they could put the children that needed more help in smaller classes and identify which children might need help with speech.

mrentropy's avatar

I’ve never heard of such a thing in New Jersey or Texas.

ashleyvvv's avatar

I have never heard of this happening to get into a public school, seems a little fishy in my opinion.

Buttonstc's avatar

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this.

Why not call the school and speak to the Principal directly and as for an explanation of why.

BTW. Are you absolutely positive that it is, in fact, a public school.

Pre-K is typically something handled by a private institution.

gemiwing's avatar

It depends on what the specific program is. If it’s a government run program, such as Early Head Start, then yes- home visits are normal.

In some poorer communities, Head Start programs are run out of the same location as the schools.

Also, if the school is for at-risk youth or for those with behavioral concerns, a home visit is not out of the ordinary.

JLeslie's avatar

I have never heard of such a thing in a Public school. Did your friend ask the principal if this is normal? Maybe if it is a certain type of Charter or Magnet they mighthave a policy like this.

Oh, I just saw what @gemiwing wrote. But, kindergarten isn’t head start is it? I think it should not be the case for head start either, I don’t agree with visiting the home of the children.

john65pennington's avatar

When she first asked me this question, i became suspicious that maybe something else was involved, other than a required inspection. i then asked her if this inspection applies to all the pre-k children, or was she singled-out by herself? she stated she did not know. i advised her to ask the principal for a copy of this requirement to determine if its a law in Kentucky or is it just a requirement for this particular school. i believe there is more involved here than she has told me. it might be that seven people are living in her house and her child is sleeping on the floor on a pillow. this also raised a red flag to me.

gemiwing's avatar

@john65pennington I think you are correct in wondering what more there is to this story. In Kentucky it is not a requirement of public schools to do a home inspection. I wonder if her child is in the STAR program, for autistic children, in which case a home visit would also be advised.

Without the name of the school or program, there isn’t much I can tell you. I would let her know if she needs to talk you’re there and perhaps she’ll remember something or feel more free to talk about it.

john65pennington's avatar

gemiwing, thanks for the info. its hard for me to advise her, without a knowledge of the law in Kentucky. i will ask her for more information and email you. again, thanks.

gemiwing's avatar

@john65pennington Anytime. I’m not an expert but I’ll be glad to help if I can. Who knows? Another Jelly could nail this one to the wall :)

Buttonstc's avatar

It makes more sense that it’s something like Head Start or some other alternative cuz it’s definitely not standard protocol for public schools.

Public schools begin with Kindergarten. That’s why something termed Pre-K is a tipoff that it’s not standard.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, pre-K, I missed that. I was thinking kindergarten in my response. Still, it seems like a horrible burden for a teacher. I am so against head start.

jonsblond's avatar

Our local grade school required this for our oldest son when he entered pre-k. This was in 1996, and not a Headstart program. They required a visit at the beginning of the school year, then again in January.

This was in Illinois btw.

john65pennington's avatar

jonsblond, thanks. you are the first to answer with a positive. i think the whole situation needs further investigation.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Do you think it is a good idea? Do you agree with the policy?

jonsblond's avatar

@john65pennington The teacher stayed in our living room the entire time. She didn’t inspect the house. I think they like to get a feel of the living environment. I thought it was strange at first, but once the teacher was in our home she made us feel comfortable. She didn’t want it to feel like an inspection, but more like an interview.

@JLeslie I’m not quite sure if I agree with the policy, but as I mentioned above, the teacher helped the process by making us feel comfortable.

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s so interesting. You learn something new on Fluther every day.

Is this standard for the State of Illionois or at the discretion of each local school board?

JLeslie's avatar

It sounds like a bible belt invention, but there I go slamming the bible belt again.

jonsblond's avatar

@Buttonstc I believe it is standard for the state for this particular program, though they have stopped the family visits recently because of lack of funds.

john65pennington's avatar

jonsblond, i have mixed feelings. what exactly would the teachers be hoping to find? would they be acting as social workers in addition to being a school teacher? i think this is out of the boundary for a school teacher. and, it could be dangerous, if you think about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington I agree with you.

john65pennington's avatar

I go into peoples houses and i am never not surprised at what i see and the environment that surrounds them. i went on one domestic call where 13 people lived under one roof. the babies had saggy diapers and were crawling in human feces. imagine how a school teacher would react in a similar situation on an inspection. not to mention parents high on drugs or alcohol. like i said, i have mixed feelings, mainly for their safety.

Buttonstc's avatar

@JL

I wasn’t aware that Illinois was part of the Bible Belt. I was always under the impression that it was lower involving primarily Southern States.

When did they raise it, I wonder :)

jonsblond's avatar

@john65pennington I agree also. I was very hesitant about the process, but since we had nothing to hide and we wanted our son in the program, we went along with it.

@Buttonstc haha….@JLeslie and I had this discussion a long time ago. Technically it isn’t, but there are parts of central Illinois that might as well be. :)

Jeruba's avatar

I never heard of it in Massachusetts or California.

JLeslie's avatar

The biggest cross I have ever seen by the side of the road was in Southern IL just below Effingham (what a f**king name) on I57. I can’t figure out if they make those crosses for churches and that is advertising or what? It’s true @jonsblond and I had this discussion a while back. I generally use southern and bible belt interchangeable, but it seems parts of southern IL are pretty good at the bible thumping.

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie Did I tell you about my neighbor across the street from me that erected an 8ft. cross in their front yard after 9/11? It is still there, with a fresh coat of paint and flowers planted around it. ugh!

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond You must be kidding?! I feel like you are trying to test me to see how gullible I am.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, as the old saying goes, we all have our crosses to bear in this lifetime :)

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist :)

And in your case JB it’s a literal cross. How lucky you are ~~

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie I’ll take a picture in the morning if you’d like. I can’t believe the city hasn’t made them take it down yet. ;) (trying to stay on topic. sorry John!)

JLeslie's avatar

I guess that is a reason to live in a community with strict covenants, but I guess the person who tries to argue the cross has to come down is the person who gets a burning cross on their lawn.

Buttonstc's avatar

@JL

Well look at it this way. At least he’s not putting up a thirteen story mosque :)

Buttonstc's avatar

@Jb

Back to the topic. I’m curious about something. You’ve twice mentioned this “program”.

That sort of implies to me that it is separate and distinct from the regular school curriculum.

Could it be possible that even tho it was at the school that it was administered separately according to policies set by whatever agency (State or Federal or otherwise) that was funding it.

Otherwise wouldn’t it just be an extended part of the regular school curriculum rather than a “program” ?

Just curious.

jonsblond's avatar

@Buttonstc Yes. It is called B.E.A.R.S. (better education for at risk students) It is funded by the state (I believe), for students from low income families or students that are “at risk”. The students take various tests to qualify for the program.

Buttonstc's avatar

Aha. That makes sense.

I just didn’t think there was any regular public school that had this type of thing as part of their standard curriculum.

Since public schools are public and open to everyone, I figured it had to be a separate type of thing with its own parameters.

Buttonstc's avatar

@John

I think that if you and/or your friend do a little digging, that would most likely be the case there too.

Since it’s a Pre-K program it likely is it’s own thing, separate and distinct with its own administration and policies (even tho physically located at the same public school.)

That would explain why they could have home visits as part of their admission criteria.

I doubt they could get away with that as part of the regular public school curriculum without someone filing a lawsuit.

Since a Pre-K program is voluntary (as opposed to K and up at which attendance is required) they can set whatever criteria they choose.

My guess would be that it’s an attempt to identify kids as early as possible who could benefit from various social services like food stamps, counseling, speech therapy or whatever.

It would probably be better off done by Social Workers but presumably they’re already swamped so they leave it to the teachers.

That’s just a best guess on my part and I’m sure that there are many homes for which this would be a moot point but they’re hoping to get a jump start in cases where it would be the most helpful.

augustlan's avatar

In Maryland, when my children attended pre-K at a public school, a home visit by the teacher was standard. Not an inspection, more like an interview.

MissAusten's avatar

The preschool my middle child attended did a home visit before the start of his first year. It wasn’t repeated when we enrolled him again for the 4 year old class. All four of the teachers came over for a very informal visit. They brought some little toys. In this case, the purpose of the visit was to get to know the child in familiar surroundings before the first day of preschool. They didn’t leave the living room, and never said the visit was mandatory. I didn’t have a problem with it. We live in CT.

john65pennington's avatar

MissAusten, thanks. there may be something to this after all. i will relay this information to my friend. john

john65pennington's avatar

Buttonstc, great answer. i think you covered all the bases. very infomative.

jca's avatar

@john65pennington : in your second post you mentioned seven people living in the home and child sleeping on a pillow? is that true? if so, maybe teacher is concerned about well being of the child. Teacher is a mandated reporter, and as such, can report that to the local authorities (Child Protective Services).

I went to Montessori School for pre-k, and i remember the teacher and another person coming to our home to meet me and my mom (that was about 40 years ago, though).

Maybe this is not “a home inspection” as you termed it (or as your friend termed it) but maybe it’s more like a home visit, and they are interpreting it as an “inspection.” I think teachers do get a feel for a child’s life if they see the home. Meeting someone and seeing their home environments may give a totally different impression.

Buttonstc's avatar

@jca

He was referencing a place he went to when working as a policeman and using it as an example of some of the things which teachers might conceivably encounter. This is not the situation at his friends house.

At least I assume it’s not :).

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