Last week was school registration in the Ann Arbor schools, and it left me--and my husband--wondering about a few things.
First of all, the timing of registration is problematic. Registration is in the middle of the day, and there is no evening registration alternative. In addition, the "make-up" day is during the same week as the regular registration. Most people take vacations Saturday to Sunday, and most camps run week-by-week, so: why don't they set the make-up day(s) during the following week, on the theory that if you are out of town on Wednesday you will probably still be out of town on Friday?
Second of all, my daughter (like many of her classmates) came home with a schedule that made no sense. Sure, she was able to laugh about the fact that she was given two sections of the same exact class. She was able to laugh about the fact that she was given two classes during the same class period. And she was able to laugh about the fact that she was given Mandarin Chinese Level 2, despite the fact that a) she's never taken any Mandarin Chinese and b) she didn't have any Chinese class on her list of possible electives.
I admit--I laughed about it too. Until my husband said to me, "Don't they use computers for these things? Can't they program the computer so that it is impossible to assign someone two classes in the same class period? Can't they program the computer so that it is impossible to assign someone two sections of the same exact class?"
Um, good point. Yes, I'm pretty sure they could. If they would.
And while they're at it, if a student has a blank class period, why don't they fill in that period with a class the student requested? If that's not possible, the computer should just leave the space blank! If a class is not on a student's list of possible electives, why does the computer automatically fill in the blank--with a class the student has no interest in taking and possibly no qualifications to take? I think they could probably fix that too, with a little programming.
And really, I don't think it's a lot of programming. If we were to compare the amount of programming time it would take to the alternative (not programming), it would be obvious that the up-front programming time would be worth it.
Because you might be wondering--what happens when students get these kind of cockamamie schedules? Well, the counselors get hundreds of change requests, and those all have to get dealt with manually. In other words, counselors are spending hundreds of hours on this.
In the meantime, the class counts for those mis-assigned classes are completely wrong.