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Don't Take Your Kids to Work, Some Schools Ask

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Chicago Tribune: Many students will tag along when Mom or Dad heads to the office Thursday, skipping class to shadow their parents in a nearly two-decades-old national tradition.

man and child in office

But several local school districts are issuing warnings to parents in advance of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day: Students will be marked absent and held responsible for missed work.

School officials say they are done turning a blind eye to a practice that could be shifted to the summer, when kids are not in school.

Hawthorn School District 73 in Vernon Hills urged parents to think twice before removing their children, issuing a statement on its Web site that said: "We do not encourage parents to take children from a regular school day." District officials in Gurnee and Libertyville voiced similar concerns about large numbers of students missing class, requiring teachers to make up the day's lessons.

"If so many children are out on the same day, everything that's done has to be redone," said Principal Jill Martin of Hawthorn Elementary South School. "We're responsible for every bit of the Illinois learning standards. That's a lot of information to pack into 180 school days."

Naperville School District 203 doesn't allow teachers or staff to bring their own children to work and urges parents not to do it either.

"We support kids shadowing their parents, but they can do it any day of the summer. It doesn't have to be now," said district spokeswoman Melea Smith.

Event organizers disagree. They designated the fourth Thursday in April for the event, beginning in 1993, with the intention that students would return to the classroom and learn from each other's experiences the following day, said spokesman George McKecuen of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation.

He acknowledged that the advent of high-stakes testing, detailed learning standards for every grade and the federal No Child Left Behind law have stepped up the pressure on teachers and principals. Educators must account for how many minutes they spend teaching every subject on every day. And in the spring, students undergo the state's standardized testing to measure how much they've learned.

For this reason, McKecuen said, organizers may consider shifting the day to another point in the school year.

"When this day was created, they chose this date in the spring when there wasn't so much -- at that time -- stress on testing," McKecuen said.

Read more stories in the news.


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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Homeschooling Mom April 27, 2010, 5:48 AM

Why don’t they make it a day off? They schedule enough “conference days” and other miscellaneous days off, I don’t see why they can’t do it for this. I think this “holiday” is a great idea and the schools should be encouraging MORE parents to participate. Learning “the three R’s” is important, to be sure, but getting a dose of the real work force is just as important.

Homeschooling Mom April 27, 2010, 5:49 AM

Why don’t they make it a day off? They schedule enough “conference days” and other miscellaneous days off, I don’t see why they can’t do it for this. I think this “holiday” is a great idea and the schools should be encouraging MORE parents to participate. Learning “the three R’s” is important, to be sure, but getting a dose of the real work force is just as important.

Homeschoolee May 25, 2010, 6:13 AM

Having gotten a taste of public school (high school), I would venture to claim that getting a dose of the real work force is more important than most school lessons. With a brain designed to pick up language patterns, is there any reason why a child would have to be formally taught to read rather than having them pick it up through exposure? Reading is exposure. Writing is practice. Arithmetic might have to be actively taught, but most elementary school teachers hate math, and kids are sensitive to adults’ attitudes.

From the perspective of “school is broken”, it does not prepare children for the work force, and the most sense I heard was that it has decayed into a dressed-up government-sponsored babysitting service, specifically keeping children away from the work force so the grown-ups can do their jobs.

A view that makes more sense (it explains why the system’s problems never get fixed), and is definitely more frightening, is that school is not broken, that instead it does exactly what it is intended to do: make the masses easier to control. The pointless classes “why do we need to learn this?” e.g. sentence diagramming, “so we can pass the NCLB tests and the school doesn’t lose funding or get closed down.” teach you to obey authority figures. It wouldn’t be much of a test for obedience if children saw why they were learning this subject or enjoyed learning it for its own sake, would it?


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