- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

DALLAS (AP) The nation's largest teachers union, complaining that too many children are missing school to shadow mom or dad at the office each April, says the annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day should be moved to June.
At its annual meeting yesterday, the National Education Association said teachers often put lessons on hold because of the annual event, which this year paired an estimated 11 million children with adults in the workplace.
Also yesterday, the NEA elected a new president, a former middle school science teacher from suburban Chicago who vowed to fight vouchers.
"I want to make sure all children have quality education," President Reg Weaver said in an interview. "We need to go back into the neighborhoods and reconnect with parents it's absolutely critical."
The NEA president criticized President Bush's education plan, which he said was "largely developed without our input."
Reflecting its members' general sense of unease about Mr. Bush's education plan a bipartisan measure crafted in cooperation with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat the NEA this week is considering several items dealing with the new federal education law.
For example, students' scores on standardized tests this fall may affect how a school's federal funds can be spent. Earlier this week, the Education Department said test scores in about 9 percent of public schools were low enough to require that students be offered part of the schools' federal funds for extra tutoring or transportation to another public school.
The NEA's call to shift Take Our Daughters to Work Day from April to June was proposed by Wisconsin teacher Glenn Schmidt.
Mr. Schmidt said he was shocked in April when the day came around at his school not so much because of how many students were gone, but because those students who remained behind, without a workplace to visit, were mostly from blue-collar, poor or troubled families.
The Ms. Foundation for Women, which has sponsored the event since 1993, will resist efforts to change the day, a spokeswoman said. It falls each year on the fourth Thursday in April.
"It's an educational program, and we want girls to channel what they learn in the workplace into their schoolwork," said Kelly Parisi. "It makes that critical connection between what they're learning in the classroom and the world of work."
Miss Parisi also said several corporate sponsors bring low-income children into workplaces. The foundation in April said it would open the event to boys next year.
The new NEA president served for the past six years as the union's vice president. Mr. Weaver replaces the outgoing president, Bob Chase, who was prevented by term limits from seeking a third three-year term.
Mr. Weaver, who taught science for more than 25 years, won 65 percent of the votes from the 8,517 voting members and will take office in September.


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