D.C., Virginia Want Girls to Punch Clock at School

By Burn, Timothy | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 23, 1998 | Go to article overview

D.C., Virginia Want Girls to Punch Clock at School


Burn, Timothy, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Thousands of Washington-area girls are expected to honor the sixth annual "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" today in a new way - sitting at their desks at school, taking tests.

School officials in the District and Virginia are advising parents that annual standardized tests scheduled for this week are more important to their children's futures than a day at the office.

The tests, given each year to students from grade school to high school, will determine whether they will be promoted to the next grade, or even graduate.

"These tests are a priority, and we are asking parents to have their children in school this week and ready to take these tests," said Beverly Lofton, spokeswoman for the D.C. public schools.

Millions of girls age 9 to 16 nationwide are expected to play hooky today for the special day created by the Ms. Foundation for Women to nurture "self-esteem" among girls.

Nell Merlino, the creator of the event, said more girls are expected to participate this year than ever before, despite criticism from some who say girls don't need extra help and are more confident about their career prospects.

"In the first two years we had about 25 million girls, and this year we expect up to 45 million, and a dozen other countries are participating as well," she said.

Though Ms. Merlino said the event is intended specifically for girls, many organizations are now sponsoring daylong activities for boys, too, bowing to cries of sex bias from parents.

Several area schools, both public and private, are greeting "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" with tepid acceptance at best. Some weren't even aware the day was on the calendar.

"We allow our students to participate if they want to, but we simply don't promote it," said Tracy Savage, spokeswoman for the National Cathedral School, a K-12 school for girls in Northwest.

"In a sense, we think our kids are already steeped in the philosophy that the world is open to them. We're working on their self-esteem right here in the school every day."

National Cathedral senior Susanna Fluge said she has no plans to take the day off but expects some younger girls to participate. …

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