Surprise critics of today’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? U.S. school districts.
Teachers and school officials say that pulling kids out of school — even for a day — in April hurts learning and interrupts the flow of classroom activities, which tend to get more intense as schools near the end of the school year. Their message: Take kids to work on your own time, today kids belong in the classroom.
My first grader is in the thick of achievement testing this week, and her school used every opportunity available to them to remind us that vacations and doctor appointments should not be scheduled this week. I think if I told her teacher that I was pulling my child out for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, her head would explode.
Achievement testing is one part of it, but teachers also say that kids missed way too much school last fall during the H1N1 outbreak. From the Daily News:
“This year, of all years, to have a student miss a day for something like this that could be done anytime — it just seems the focus should be on students and their learning here,” said Guy Schumacher, the superintendent of Libertyville Elementary School District 70 in suburban Chicago.
The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation seems unconcerned by the kerfluffle. Foundation spokesman, George McKecuen might as well have shrugged his shoulders when he told the Daily News, “Maybe they can do their tests some other day. It’s always there on the calendar, the fourth Thursday in April.”
(Current and former teachers, go ahead and express outrage at that “maybe they can do their tests some other day” line. We’ll wait.)
It seems to me that some sort of compromise could be reached here. Sure, kids need to see their parents at work, and some might argue it’s still especially important for girls to see their mothers working in their field. Seeing the skills they’re learning in school put to work in the real world also gives kids a sense of purpose. But our educators and kids are under more pressure than ever to learn and achieve. Everyone is on the same side here — wanting to raise kids to be successful, contributing adults — so why not compromise and change the date? I know more than a few teachers who wouldn’t mind a few abscences that last Friday before spring break.
We’ve never participated in Take Our Daughters and Sons to work day out of circumstance, but even if we could have this year, I would have left my daughter in school to finish her tests. Not because I never pull her out of school; a four-day weekend vacation this winter got me some hard looks from her teacher this winter. But because I know how stressful achievement testing can be, and it just feels disrespectful to disrupt the process for something we could do during any other day of the year.
Did you participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? If so, did your school have a problem with it?
Photo: Yodel Anecdotal, Flickr
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