Take Our Children To Test Prep Day

by Robert Pondiscio
April 22nd, 2010

Take your children to work?  Please don’t, say some school districts. 

Today is the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,”  But, the AP reports, districts nationwide have urged parents to keep kids in school to get ready for high-stakes tests.  In Ohio, for example, students are taking the Ohio Achievement Assessment test today.

At schools where standardized tests aren’t being given, 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.

A spokesman for the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation has heard the complaints for years and is unmoved by the pleas to move the date.  “Maybe they can do their tests some other day,” says George McKecuen.  “It’s always there on the calendar, the fourth Thursday in April.”


  1. “Every day your child is out of school his or her learning achievement suffers,” wrote Virginia B. McElyea, the superintendent of the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, AZ.

    And what evidence is there to support this assertion?

    Comment by Crimson Wife — April 22, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  2. Let me translate: “Every day your child is out of school my anxiety about making AYP increases….”

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — April 22, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  3. Every day your child is out of school, that’s more money we won’t get!

    Comment by TFT — April 22, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  4. Yep — TFT is right — every day out of school means fewer dollars to the coffers of government schools

    Comment by tim-10-ber — April 22, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  5. Testing should happen on random days without teachers & students prior knowledge. This ‘preparing to the test’ is getting ridiculous. For weeks my daughter’s class has been doing nothing but prepare for Taks. The daily schedule has been changed to allow for special math tutoring etc.

    And all that will suddenly stop after Taks testing. What does that imply? That now it does not matter if you don’t get the math; the school will no longer make special provisions to tutor you!

    Comment by SK — April 23, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  6. In Houstno there is now

    “…a newly created position, general manager of student initiatives. He’ll be responsible for soliciting corporate donations to reward children and their families for improved student attendance. As district officials like to point out, for every 1 percent increase in attendance, HISD gets $10 million more in state funding.”

    Implying ‘learning’ is not sufficient reward?

    Comment by SK — April 23, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  7. My, what a lot of cynicism. Schools want to make AYP? Funny how people act when you put a gun to their heads. How about holding this silly event in the summer?

    Comment by Robert Fauceau — April 23, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  8. Cynicism, alas, cuts both ways. An interesting point to argue would be who is the greater cynic: the person who sees schools concerned only with test scores? Or the person who sees test scores as a proxy for a good education.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — April 23, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  9. [...] Take your children to work?  Please don’t, some school districts urge. (The Core Knowledge Blog) [...]

    Pingback by Bowflex Xtreme 2 Home Gym Remark » QUICK Hits — April 24, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  10. Robert, I agree. I can easily see the cynicism in teaching to the test and I think the focus on testing a few subjects has been disastrous. However, teachers and principals in public schools simply have no choice. For us, this isn’t a philosophical debate–it is a concrete reality. Our necks are on the block. And let us not forget that the Core Knowledge Foundation has consistently endorsed No Child Left Behind. Also, isn’t there a distinction between finding standardized test scores useful and seeing them as a proxy for a good education? E.D. Hirsch isn’t saying the latter, is he?

    The comments here railing against “government schools” and portraying public school educators as caring only about dollars are groundless cheap shots. I imagine that those educators who criticize “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” are merely making the entirely reasonable point that instructional time is precious. That is all. I’m reading Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion,” in which he makes that point repeatedly. It is a sound one. Further, it isn’t just this event. At our school this week I had students missing classes for a blood drive on Thursday, for African drumming on Wednesday (part of a Senior Writing Lab class for struggling students, no less!), and let us not forget the most galling: Tuesday, “4/20,” national Get Stoned day, when many of us had 50% attendance. Lovely. We might as well have revolving doors on our classrooms. And who gets held “accountable?” So, the problem is quite real. Instead of thinking about it for a moment, the posters above chose to indulge in mindless rants about those nefarious, greedy educators. What grounds do they have for saying that? Have they ever talked to these people? Again, cheap shots.

    Comment by Robert Fauceau — April 24, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  11. We need to keep in mind, kids can learn even if they are not in school. Instead of training kids to take multiple choice exams, we should be educating them to become free thinkers who have the ability to solve difficult problems. This is accomplished through various experiences, such as going to work for one day with their parents. Learning happens in places other than school.

    Comment by Jordan J — May 4, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

  12. Robert, I quite agree that teachers often take these cheap shots. People forget that they are professionals who spent years in school and teaching to get to where they are. They simply do not get the amount of respect that they deserve.

    Comment by Jordan J — May 5, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

  13. Jordan,

    Thanks for your comments. I should say that “cheap shots” doesn’t apply to all of the comments on this post. The people who post here are usually thoughtful. This episode does remind me of how in so many areas we are quick to attack the motives of people we have never even met. I’ve done it, too. I try to remind myself that doing so is out of bounds.

    Yes, kids learn even if they are not in school. We shouldn’t forget that. I just wish we would respect the days designated for school. Since I wrote those earlier comments, a colleague of mine told me that she is being pressured to miss school in order to attend a healthy eating conference, and bring some students with her. A local politician has organized this, and our superintendent is “strongly encouraging” teachers to attend. She is already feeling burdened and now has to deal with this. The problem isn’t any one event, it is that we are deluged with such requests.

    Comment by Robert Fauceau — May 10, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

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