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Kids-to-work day shunned

Event conflicts with critical school testing

Karina Bland
The Arizona Republic

School officials throughout Arizona are pleading with parents to send their children to school instead of the office April 22, this year's national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

The event falls during the week vital to the success of many schools: Most of Arizona's schoolchildren are taking the state's annual standardized test, the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards, next week.

An empty desk could mean the difference between a school getting a passing or failing grade.

In every school, 95 percent of students must take AIMS or the school risks failing to make "adequate yearly progress."

"Districts have had as few as five students skew the data. It's that critical that students are in school," said Nedda Shafir, spokeswoman for the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix.

Last year, Royal Palm Middle School in Phoenix was labeled "failing" because not enough kids took the AIMS test.

This year, Principal Mike Christensen is raffling off two bikes donated by the school's food-services department and Harkins movie tickets to children who show up for testing.

School officials in the Paradise Valley, Deer Valley, Chandler and other districts sent letters home this month reminding parents about the importance of attendance, not just on testing days but every day.

"We understand how important testing is, but we can't help but be disappointed," said Holly Houston, spokeswoman for the Ms. Foundation in New York, sponsor of the event.

It has been on the fourth Thursday in April for 12 years.

Some businesses are cooperating by changing the date of their Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Intel Corp. in Chandler will hold its own Bring Your Child to Work Day after testing.

Districts and the Arizona Department of Education have rescheduled Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day for June 17, after school is out for the summer.

"It's a wonderful idea and we fully support it, just not during the school year," Shafir said.

Arizona Republic


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