Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bring Your Children to Work Day

This annual day may have dubious feminist origins, started by the Ms. Foundation as "Take Your Daughter to Work Day," but my husband's employer has turned this into a wonderful annual event for boys and girls. The children have tours, participate in hands-on activities, eat lunch with mom or dad (this year it was Outback Steakhouse hamburgers!), and end the day spending some time at the parent's desk. This year it was our third child's turn to participate.

I was thus saddened to read that some educators across the country, with their eye on average daily attendance dollars, warned parents not to participate. A superintendent in Illinois said: "I'm talking about children learning as the primary reason. The second reason is that it's how we're funded in the state." This gentleman conveniently ignores (for the sake of his Reason #2) that not all learning takes place in the classroom. Most children who accompany their parents to work will remember this special day long after whatever activities that took place in the classroom today are forgotten.

Since our daughter is homeschooled we didn't have to worry about annoying her principal or teacher. One of the things I particularly enjoy about homeschooling is not being accountable to a government employee for our personal parenting decisions.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does seem like this issue could have been avoided by simply selecting a non-school date in the first place! Yes, some systems go year round now, but most schools in the U.S. still have the summery off.

I think Illinois has this attendance-based funding rule because Chicago had a big truancy problem. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember it had something to do with that.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, that would be ideal if it were possible to eliminate the attendance issue -- unfortunately here in CA many school districts, including the next district over from us, are on a year-round track, so it's hard to choose a date that would work for everyone.

(CA also has attendance-based funding. This has led to some problems with things like our local school hounding sick kids to show up at least for attendance -- which just leads to a vicious circle of more sick kids! Grin.)

6:52 PM  

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