Cut Day

Educators are asking parents not to let children skip school today — it’s Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day — because schools lose funding when students are absent. Kids can visit their parents’ jobs when school is not in session, they say. Yes, but the Ms. Foundation wouldn’t get as much attention that way.

Update: Popular Mechanics suggest putting your kids to work and not just for a day.

It seems to me that basic competence in life ought to include knowing things like how to change a tire, paint a room, cook a meal, mix concrete, and build simple items out of wood. And the best way to learn these things is working side-by-side with a parent.

I learned no mechanical or concrete-mixing skills from my parents. They had none to pass on, being Jewish. (OK, it’s a stereotype, but I can tell you it’s a stereotype exemplified by my family.) But I did pick up practical skills as a homeowner. And I built a not-too-wobbly set of wooden shelves in fifth-grade shop class. My daughter can cook, paint, do laundry (but not iron), assemble Ikea furniture and remember to get her car’s oil checked regularly.

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  1. FWIW, my company does the “Take Your Kids to Work Day” in the summer. Of course, now it has little to do with the Ms. Foundation and is just a generic morale program.

  2. For TypeKey victim WahooFive:

    Girls’ Middle School in Mountain View, CA, has actually made Take Your Daughter to Work Day mandatory. They’re a private school, so they’re not losing any state funding.

    Unfortunately, many of the students are less than enthusiastic, since in Silicon Valley most of their parents just sit in front of a computer all day at work, which isn’t very exciting or even educational for an observer. The school’s mandate doesn’t require the students to actually go to their parents’ workplace, however; they can go to other relatives’ or friends’ jobs, or to a company like Yahoo which has special Daughters’ Day (now gender-neutral, or course) programs.


  3. My dad – a geologist – took me to work and even had me help out on some things (reading maps, for example, “Find me as many areas as you can that have this particular soil association).

    Thing was, he did that on weekends and my school breaks.

    And I can see how watching someone code all day would not be particularly instructive (unless you knew the coding language too). At least with geology, there are maps to look at and interpret, and cool rocks to look at, and lab equipment to ask “hey, what does this thing do?”

  4. Indigo Warrior says:

    Given what typical public schools are like, being at the parents’ work would be more educational (and safer) for most kids. And watching parents hack and get paid for it in Silicon Valley isn’t all that boring. It’s no more so than seeing lawyers and accountants in action.