Schools urge parents not to take kids to work

Educators frown on annual tradition that takes students out of the classroom at a critical time of year

Topics: Education, Parenting,

Many U.S. school districts are urging parents to keep their kids in class and not take them to work Thursday for an annual event they say disrupts learning at an increasingly critical time of year.

From Arizona to Illinois to Texas, educators are alerting parents that between high-stakes standardized testing in some areas and the H1N1 virus that kept thousands of children home earlier in the school year, the timing of “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” doesn’t make sense.

“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.

Some administrators said they recognized that spending time with their parents at work could be a valuable educational experience for children, but it does not justify pulling them out of the classroom — even for one day.

“Stakes have never been higher for student achievement,” wrote Virginia B. McElyea, the superintendent of the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Ariz. “Every day your child is out of school his or her learning achievement suffers.”

Administrators have been complaining about the event’s date for well over a decade. Some have said they’ve contacted the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation to ask that it be held on a school holiday or during the summer, but the organization won’t budge.

A spokesman for the foundation, George McKecuen, said it’s important that the event — launched in 1993 for girls and expanded to include boys in 2004 — be held during the school year so children can go back and tell their classmates what they learned. He suggested schools might schedule a holiday or teacher work day on that day or: “Maybe they can do their tests some other day.”

“It’s always there on the calendar, the fourth Thursday in April,” McKecuen said.

Darrell Propst, principal of Taylor Elementary School in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, said it’s the same day his third- and fourth-graders are taking the Ohio Achievement Assessment test. Like others administrators who sent letters or posted e-mail messages on school Web sites, he asked parents to find another day to bring their children to work.



At schools where standardized tests aren’t being given that day, the exams may be looming. Student test scores have become increasingly important to public schools since the 2002 No Child Left Behind law was enacted, linking standardized test results to federal funding.

“Because of the high-stakes testing we’re involved in during the spring, the kids need to be in school as much as they can,” said Ron Simpson, a spokesman for a regional education service center in Richardson, Texas.

Some parents, however, say their children learn enough about their parents and the world that day to make up for whatever they miss in class.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for my daughter to see her mother in action, so to speak,” said Alicia Agugliaro, who planned to take her 7-year-old daughter to the drug development company in Princeton, N.J., where she works in marketing communications. “Our company emphasized leadership and partnership, and I think that’s a good message for kids.”

Other parents, though, acknowledge it may not be worth it.

“I think it’s a great experience for the kids to see what a professional environment is like, but they also may need to weigh that with how much they are going to miss at school, whether there is a test they will have to make up or what is going on that day,” said Jill Krizek, who for years has brought her 11-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son to the bank in suburban Kansas City where she’s a human resources director.

Her son, a high school freshman, has decided not to participate.

“He feels like he misses too much work,” she said. “I have worked here 13 years, so it hasn’t changed enough.”

But McKecuen, from the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, said the event gives students a chance to see the connection between what they learn in school and the skills they will need as adults. He said it also can spark children’s interest in careers they might not have considered or known about.

That’s what happened in Chicago, at the office of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

In a letter written to Brown last November, Jade Ieshia Cage, a college freshman studying to be a lawyer, wrote that participating in the event “helped me decide what I want to do in my life.”

——

Associated Press writers Linda Stewart Ball in Dallas and Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>