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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kindergarten Contracts

Charlie I suppose a contracts professor ought to be glad to see contract creeping into areas where it hasn't ordinarily been used.  But kindergarten?

As my five-year-old, young Williston Langdell ("Will") Snyder (left), bravely went off to his first day of kindergarten yesterday, he was required to bring in a signed agreement among himself, his parents, and his teacher.  Given the fact that I'm also a party, I was reluctant to give him legal advice, so I told him the best thing to do was to sign it without reading it, which is good because he probably couldn't, anyway.  Here it is:

COLLEGE STATION INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
                College Hills Elementary School

Student, Parents/Guardians and Teacher School Compact

As a STUDENT at College Hills Elementary School, I will take responsibility for my learning:
I will be proud of College Hills Elementary School, have respect for everyone there, and follow the school rules along with the Skills of Success (S.O.S.).
I will be responsible for my own behavior and choices.
I will put forth my best effort and attitude at all times.
I will remember to take home my homework and any notes for my family.
I will share at least (3) important things happening at school each day with my family.

[Child's signature] [Date]

As a PARENT/GUARDIAN of a student at College Hills Elementary School, I will take responsibility for his/her learning:
I will seek opportunities to help with my child's education and to praise him/her each day.
I will listen to, talk with, and be aware of my child's friends, concerns, and behaviors.
I will work and communicate with my child's teacher, as needed.
I will control TV viewing and video/computer games.
I will establish a designated time and place to read to and work with my child each day.
I will have my child rested, prepared, and on time to learn each day.

[Signature]  [Date]

As a TEACHER at College Hills Elementary School, I will take responsibility for my students' learning:
I will listen to and respect your child and you at all times.
I will provide an environment conducive to learning.
I will keep you, the parent/guardian, informed as to your child's progress at least every three weeks (if grades are 75 or below) and at the end of every six weeks.
I will provide the instruction necessary to assist your child in acquiring the skills for the successful completion of the current grade level.

[Signature]  [Date]

It's in quadruplicate -- white copy for the teacher, pink for the office, yellow for the child, and goldenrod for the parents.

There are obvious questions here.  Is Will bound?  He's a minor, but the thing is also signed by his parent, me.  I'm signing on my own behalf, but don't I now have a possible conflict of interest?  If he is bound, is he in breach of the contract if he decides he is not, in fact, proud of College Hills elementary school?  Suppose he's just doing that in bad faith?  If three important things don't actually happen to him in school, so that he can't share them with his family, does he have an impossibility excuse?  Does "family" mean he has to share them will all of us, including his older brother Llewellyn, who will hold his hands over his ears?  I suppose a child is never too young to start learning contract law.

[Frank Snyder]

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