Tag Archives: bureaucracy

all my children?



possibly my family holiday photo

i had my taxes done yesterday

by a woman

who has done them

for over 10 years.

while there

as always

we talked about

all that has happened since we last met.

this time however,

when finishing up

she casually asked:

‘for some reason the i.r,s, shows that you have 25 children

and  i can’ t get it to delete. any life changes since last year?’

‘nothing of that magnitude, really,

at least not that i’m aware of.

but maybe that’s what all that commotion is in the lobby?’

we always enjoy our time together

but this really kicked it up a notch.

same time next year?


bureaucracy has more than a few quirks

and i so appreciate her

for helping me to navigate through the crazy system

and somehow try to make some sense of it.

my 25, could make this

 the best year of deductions ever!

‘we’ll try to cooperate fully with the IRS, because,

as citizens, we feel a strong patriotic duty not to go to jail.

– dave barry

image credit: edinphoto.org

bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible. – javier pascual salcedo



i went to apply for

my professional recertification

a requirement

from the state

board of education

every five years

whether it’s needed it or not

where i account for

 my continuing education

my ongoing development

as a teacher


they had changed the system

without any notice


when they tried

to explain it to me

 i was hopelessly confused


they sent me

the following emails

to clear it all up


my brain

could not even

begin to process

the information


i thought

maybe it’s a test


i have no answers

i wish it was multiple choice

and now

 i need a translator


a miracle.


If you have been awarded State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) since January 1, 2010, and they are not displayed on this page, you need to add your Personnel Identification Code (PIC) to your Secure Central Registry (SCR) account. You can locate your PIC number by clicking on Manage Demographics on the left navigation panel on this page. The PIC number is required to link your SCECH information in the SCR to your MOECS account. Once your PIC is in the SCR, any SCECHs earned through the SCR should appear in MOECS within 3-4 business days. To visit the Secure Central Registry (SCR) please go to http://solutionwhere.com/mi_sbceu/welcome.asp.

• The SCR started collecting SCECH data on January 1, 2010. If you were awarded State Board Continuing Education Units (SB-CEUs) prior to January 1, 2010, they are not available for viewing in MOECS, and you must add them. To add your SB-CEUs earned prior to January 1, 2010, select Add at the bottom of this screen and fill in the required information.

• For SB-CEUs awarded prior to January 1, 2010, you will need to maintain the paper record of your SB-CEUs for audit purposes. If your certificate is audited, you will be asked to send a copy of your official record of your SB-CEUs to the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Professional Preparation Services. 
If you feel that SCECHs awarded since January 1, 2010 are missing from the SCR, contact the sponsor of that SCECH program.

In order for the SB-CEUs (now known as SCECHs) that you have completed after January 1, 2010, and are listed in your Secure Central Registry (SCR) record, to import into your MOECS online certification record you must go into your demographics page on MOECS, copy the PIC number from your demographics page and then log into your record on the SCR and enter that same PIC number in your SCR record.  Approximately 3-4 business days after you do that, all SCECHs that are listed in your SCR record will also be listed in your MOECS online certification record. This should allow you to log back into MOECS and apply for your renewal successfully.

The renewal of a Professional Education teaching certificate requires what equates to 150 clock hours by completing 6 semester hours (1 semester hour equals 25 clock hours) OR 150 SCECHs* (State Continuing Education Clock Hours) OR 150 Michigan district-provided professional development hours** (1 PD hour equals 1 clock hour) OR a combination of the two/three. The required credit hours, SCECHs or district-provided professional development hours must be completed after the issue date on your current Professional Education certificate and within five years preceding the date of application for the renewal.

Semester hour credit must be 6 credits in a planned program completed at a regionally accredited teacher preparation university/college in the United States OR 6 credits appropriate to the grade levels and content endorsement(s) on the certificate completed at any regionally accredited community college or 4-year university/college in the United States.

In regards to SCECHs, only Michigan SCECHs are acceptable.  Regular CEU’s, professional development hours, contact hours, clock hours, etc. are not acceptable towards renewal (unless you have requested, and been granted approval, that these type credits be converted to Michigan SCECH hours via a request to your district SCECH Sponsor made 45 days prior to the activity).

For non-traditional SCECH activities; i.e., Supervising a Mentor Teacher, Supervising a Student Teacher, Serving on a State Board-Appointed Advisory Board, arrangements must be made either prior to the activity or during the semester of the activity with your district SCECH Sponsor if you wish to earn SCECH for these activities.

In regards to district-provided PD hours, there is no longer a cap of 30 district-provided PD hours per school year that may be used towards certificate renewal.  The cap was removed via a Waiver that was requested and approved by the Michigan Department of Education on June 20, 2014.

Semester hour credit may be taken an approved teacher preparation institution or any regionally accredited college/university in the United States. If you have an out-of-state college/university in mind, please check with our office to make sure that they are regionally accredited before committing to classes that you plan to use towards Professional Education certificate renewal credit.

Graduate or undergraduate level credit is acceptable.  Semester hour credit is accepted from a community college as long as it is a regionally accredited community college in the United States.

University/college on-line courses are acceptable as long as they are education-related, the credit will be issued in semester hour credits, and the credit will be issued on a transcript from a regionally accredited university/college in the United States.  Again, if you find an on-line course that you are interested in but do not know if they are regionally accredited, please contact our office.

On-line SCECH credit is acceptable as long as it is issued from a valid Michigan SCECH sponsor.   For a list of valid Michigan SCECH sponsors and approved program offerings, please visit the SCECH website at:  http://www.getmipd.com

Credit must be education-related and appropriate to the grade level and content endorsement(s) of your professional education certificate. Technology courses are acceptable.  General education courses are also acceptable; i.e., classroom management, diversity in the classroom, bullying, etc.

Keep in mind that all coursework/SCECH credit/district-provided professional development hours must be completed and credit/hours awarded before your renewal application may be processed. Once all credit/hours have been awarded, application for renewal is made through the Michigan Department of Education online certification application website at http://www.michigan.gov/moecs You will now make application for your renewal online, pay (via a credit or debit card) online and also print off your renewed certificate from your home/office printer.

The soonest you may apply to renew a Professional Education certificate is January 1st of the year the certificate is due to expire.

Please do not submit any college/university transcripts, SCECH documentation, or district-provided professional development forms to our office at any time.  You may hold on to this information for your records.  Should you ever be audited by our office after renewal, we would request those documents from you at that time.

Now that application/payment/printing of your certificate is done online, there is 1 day processing time.  However, again, all credit must be complete before you make application for your renewal.  The renewal fee is $160.

*State Board Continuing Education Units (SB-CEU’s) are now known as State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH’s)
**Must be completed while employed in a public/charter school district.

the regulatory systems in place disincentive innovation.

it’s intense to fight the red tape.

– travis kalanick


image credit: google images

dying on the blue cross



once again, i’ve stumbled into a bureaucratic rabbit hole:

in short, i filled out a ‘healthy incentives’ survey in order to qualify for the most cost effective program offered by my health insurance provider.  somehow it all went wrong at *step 1.

  1. *i filled out the survey 
  2. felt happy that i had completed a horribly tedious piece of paperwork and based upon the results, would easily qualify for the program
  3. got a letter from blue cross
  4. letter said they never received my survey and i was now automatically enrolled in the higher cost plan
  5. i called them (where things got worse)
  6. music i was subjected to while on hold during the experience: smooth jazz, easy listening, elevator cover music
  7. departments i spoke with/was on hold with/opted into with my keyboard pounding : customer service, non-compliance, nursing, engagement center, health resource coordination center
  8. lots of 800 and 888 numbers and extensions involved
  9. conversations along the way: 

  ‘ who gave you this number?’

‘the letter you sent me listed it as the one to call.’

‘who told you to call us?’

‘you did.’

‘can we call you back?’


‘our department doesn’t handle this kind of thing.’

‘i really have no idea who deals with this.’

10. after lots of transferring action, holds, disconnects, etc. – more conversation:

‘i can see the form you filled out online, and it does look like you qualified for the healthy incentives option, but you never pushed the button at the end to get your official score.’

‘so, you do see that i’ve filled it out?’


‘and it shows i am healthy and do actually qualify?’


‘but because i didn’t push the button it doesn’t count?’


‘yes, it counts?’

‘no. yes, it does not count.’

‘what can i do about it?’

‘well it is after the deadline now.’

‘what can i do about it?’

‘i guess file a complaint.’

‘will i be paying the higher rate in the meantime?’

and – after 1 hour and 47 minutes, my favorite and final response:

‘i would definitely not be able to answer that.’

(i believe that if i was to fill out the survey again after this, i may not qualify as ‘healthy’ due to a rise in my blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. though of course this is just a guess, because there is definitely no one who would be able to answer that.)


only rules rush in….



in trying to file some final paperwork following my mother’s death, i found myself time and again in the local social security office.  for some reason, (as in, i was dealing with a bureaucracy), it took me forever to complete what i had assumed was an easy task.

the office was only open during my working hours, so i had to wait for a day off to come around before i could get everything filed with them. in the meantime, i got tired of looking at all of these papers and tried to call in sick one day but that didn’t work out as planned, had a snow day at home and drove there through the icy roads only to be told, ‘of course, we’re not open, we close every wednesday at noon’, went during my winter break only to find i didn’t have the right forms, i was missing some obscure piece of original paperwork,  and on and on…. 

well the day finally came when all the stars were aligned, the office was open, i had the day off, and i was armed with every possible form of documentation they could potentially need. i walked through the door, signed in and was handed a number. when i finally heard my lucky #488 called, i went to ‘window z’ to file the papers at last. 

upon looking at my form, window z woman said, ‘i’m not sure what this is, i don’t understand.’ her reaction kind of surprised me as it seemed to be a standard form, one provided by their office in the first place, and they are the ones who had insisted that it needed to be completed and brought back to them. with all original, obscure documentation of course. i suggested that she talk to the last guy i had dealt with there, (window x), as he seemed to have had a pretty good handle on it during my last visit.  after a quick stop at window x, she returned, said everything was in order, and let me know that i should hear back from them in 6 months or so, as they “usually work very slowly.” i easily agreed with her on this one –

as an afterthought, while there, i thought i’d mention that i’d noticed someone in their office had mistyped my address when sending out my last notice from them, and it was now off by one digit. i explained that only reason i actually got the letter was that my postman saw it, figured it out, and brought it to me. i asked if they could change it back from ‘123 to 124’ so that in the future, i would actually get mailings from them and wouldn’t have to rely on good luck, timing, and a nice postman. 

she delivered her quiet response with a straight face and a certainty that only the truest bureaucrat can possess. ‘we cannot change your address once you are dead.’ even though i tried to point out that i was actually alive and sitting in front of her, requesting that my address be changed back to the correct one, and that i was simply representing the dead person, and trying to make sure that i received mail from them that they insisted i respond to, under penalty of federal offense. 

she simply looked me in the eye and repeated, ‘we cannot change your address once you are dead.’ i thanked her for her time and her help, and mentioned that i hoped i would actually receive the letter from them when it arrived in 6 months or so, or perhaps my neighbor would get it. with a mutual nod, and new level of understanding, we parted ways.