I’ve spent the last few days dealing with paperwork of all kinds, but mostly paperwork for school crap. There are health forms–for school and for sports–registration forms, emergency contact forms. You name it, there’s a form for it. What I wouldn’t give for some automation of all this crap. It’s gotta be a pain for the data entry/filing people to receive hundreds of forms, figure out if they’re complete, etc. And I don’t even have forms yet for Geeky Girl’s new school–did I mention she’s going to go to the school where I teach? (Yes, yes we’re excited.). And I don’t have any kids with issues–as Laura at 11D pointed out in a Tweet. Just navigating the regular forms is a pain. I can’t imagine filling out other forms, especially in situations where the system tries to hide behind its bureaucracy.
I find the health forms particularly painful. In my ideal scenario, my kids’ health records (or at least their immunization records, which is what most schools really care about) would be stored at a statewide data center. Every year, I’d have the option of doing the form by hand or simply going to a web site, finding the school to send it to, and then clicking the send button. Hell, I’d even pay a fee for that; I already pay my doctor for the records, so I’d be happy to pay someone else. Emergency contact information seems like it could be automated too. Every year, I fill out the same information (and yes, there have been years when the info has changed, but still). An online form seems like a much nicer option. Having spent the better part of today building my own online form, I know they can take some time, but surely, the time saved in the end for us all would be worth it. Pop that info into a secure database and be done with it, I say.