Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don't take your kids to work day

CHICAGO (ap) -- Heeding the call of some educators who are saying low school attendance cuts into their already tight budgets, Chicago plans to enforce a ban on child slave labor, thus preventing families from taking part in the national "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work" day being held today.

Chicago workplaces can no longer welcome youngsters under an ordinance unanimously approved at Wednesday's City Council meeting over Mayor Daley's derisive objections.

"We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers. We have real issues here in this city. And we're dealing with [Take Your Kids to Work day]? Let's get some priorities. Our priorities should be children, the quality of education. It should be seniors. We should worry about the gas prices. We should worry about the global economy," Daley said.

The mayor, who got into politics as a youngster running errands and collecting envelopes stuffed with "lettuce" for ward bosses, then got sarcastic. "I have a fish tank," he said. "I don't want any alderman coming up there, putting their hands in and start eating sushi. My little fish there. That would really bother all of us."

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) made no apologies for championing the ban. "It's not going to cost the taxpayers a single nickel. It's simply outlawing ... a cruel and inhumane practice," Moore said.

The ban goes into effect immediately and carries fines of $250 to $500 per violation.

Besides losing teaching time, educators estimate that each absent pupil costs schools an average of $11 per day in state funding, which the schools receive for license plates that students hammer out in art class and roadside cleanup projects often referred to as "service learning."

Some are unhappy with the move.
"What's going on in Chicago? No smoking, no [child labor] and then what else -- no sex?" Chef Didier Durand of Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar, a restaurant that sells foie gras and "employs" teen dishwashers.

A local 8th grader said she has enjoyed going to work in previous years with her mother, a sweatshop seamstress, and her father, a produce picker. This year "they probably won't let me go anyway because I miss a lot of school for immigration rights protests," said the 14 year old.

She believes other pupils won't miss too much because the year is winding down. "One day of hard labor won't kill us," she said.

The Ms. Foundation, which started the event in 1993, said the activities are intended to involve both school and community as a learning experience, teaching children the fine points of survival in a capitalist system where those lacking an education or documentation are doomed to a life of minimum wage and no benefits. The foundation, which initially focused on daughters only, expanded the program in 2003 to include boys.

Last year, about 16.2 million children and parents participated, according to the foundation, pumping $1.3 billion into the underground economy.


Anonymous The Mom said...

Hey, I always believed in taking my children to work. It was cheaper than hiring a babysitter!! And look how it turned out - my kid ended up taking ME to her work and getting me a job!!

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

I think more thought should have more though given to illegal immigrant children and their parents when they scheduled the take your kids to work day. The kids could have had a 4 day weekend if they would have scheduled the day for friday. Now they have to take thursday off to see their parent's places of employment, go to school on friday, and then take monday off to attend the rally.

9:22 AM  

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