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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Once upon a time, somebody dreamed up the idea of taking kids out of school so they could go to their parent’s office and play with the hole-punch all day. It was applauded and hailed as a revolutionary idea that would help students understand and appreciate the grind of everyday office life.

Meanwhile, teachers across the nation were told to prepare lesson plans for classrooms that were half-empty, and then forced to repeat those lessons when the hole-punchers returned the next day.

Yes, once again we’re asked to support something that’s inherently foolish, when the truth is: Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day is a bad idea. Or rather, it’s a bad idea to do it during the school year.

Few of us have the guts to make the charge, while many will demand my head on a stake. (Those who frequently were taken out of school as a child, however, demand my head on a steak.)

I checked the calendar for several school districts, and – not counting weekends – between September 1st and May 31st students had between 35 and 38 days where they didn’t go to class. That’s roughly five weeks of class time that’s already lost.

And now we want to pull them out again? To tromp off to mom’s office and be officially bored by 10:15?

Sure, I understand that some offices create fun activities for Ashley and Caden, but here’s something for you to ponder: What’s wrong with hosting these days in the summer? Or during one of those 38 non-classroom days? Are kids able to ‘bond’ at work with their parents only if they’re missing a scheduled school day? Please explain.

I propose the start of a new event called “Keep Your Kids In Class” Day.

Children in America are – we’re told – already too far behind students in other countries, and falling further back. Shouldn’t we focus on improving academic achievement before we subject them to sitting in a cubicle all day? Keep Your Kids In Class.

Aren’t teachers handcuffed enough as it is, with diminishing budgets and ridiculous ‘teach to the test’ mandates? And some people want to yank students out for another day? Keep Your Kids In Class.

I’ve heard several arguments in favor of the event.

Argument Number One: They’ll learn so much about the work place! Well, for now I’d rather they learn the difference between ‘their’ and ‘they’re.’ They’ll have fifty years to learn about the work place. Can we let them be kids for now? Keep Your Kids In Class.

Argument Number Two: The kids are able to use the experience as a class project! All right. What if they used one of the teacher in-service/work days each year to get that experience? Then, instead of watching television all day, they could visit the office and submit their report on Monday, while not missing an extra day. Keep Your Kids In Class.

Argument Number Three: My childless co-workers just love having my kids hang around the office! Uh, no, they don’t; they’re just too polite to tell you. I will. Keep Your Kids In Class.

If we want to build a better student, then we certainly should not look for another reason to keep them out of the classroom. I understand the feel-good emotion associated with the event, but we can all feel just as good in July as we do in April. Better, perhaps, because we can make it a half-day event in July – which, for kids, is plenty – and then send them off to the water park for some exercise.

I know, it’s a radical idea, but I say Keep Your Kids In Class.

Dom Testa is an author, speaker, morning radio show host, and has kept a ficus tree alive for twenty two years. He’s also the founder and president of The Big Brain Club, a non-profit foundation that helps young people embrace the idea that Smart Is Cool. More info at www.DomTesta.com.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to have a quality education.