You’d think that since it’s the year 2017, our schools would be teaching children equality of the sexes. The very last thing you’d expect is to find out that your child’s school was shaming and guilt-tripping women for being working moms.
Especially in a day in age where it’s often financially necessary for both parents to bring in incomes.
To one Queens mother’s dismay, this was not the case.
Lynne Polvino was exhausted after a long day of work and was struggling as she was cooking dinner, helping her 6-year-old daughter Hazel with her homework, and answering her 4-year-old son Jasper’s rapid fire questions at the same time.
But when she picked up her daughter’s homework sheet, she became enraged.
“I was already feeling pretty frazzled, and when I read the assignment, I almost lost it,” Polvino told TODAY Parents.
The worksheet discussed a story called “Back to Work” where first graders were asked to choose words to fill in the blanks about a story about a girl named Lisa who was unhappy that her mother had to go back to work.
The story shows the entire family being in a rush to get out the door in the morning and her father’s inadequacies at making a decent breakfast in place of her mom.
The story did, however, have a happy ending which shows the mother’s new job allowing her to get home before Lisa returned from school.
It hit home for Polvino, who works as a children’s book editor in Manhattan, and made her livid.
“My shock and dismay quickly turned to outrage. I mean, what decade are we in, anyway?” Polvino asks. “In this day and age, we’re going to tell kids that mothers working outside the home makes their children and families unhappy? That fathers don’t normally do things like cook and wash the dishes?”
The story didn’t seem to bother Hazel, but what about the other kids in her class?
Would they start to feel unhappy about having a working mom, Polvino wondered.
“What message was this sending to them? What message was it sending to little girls who dream of having careers and families?” she said. “And what about all the other working moms — did they feel, as I did, like they’d been punched in the gut when they read this?”
Polvino wasn’t about to take this lying down. So, she made a few edits of her own.
Actually, she re-wrote the entire story in a way that reflects the type of world she wants to live in and the values she believes should be taught to out children.
“The morning was wonderful,” Polvino’s rewrite stated. “Lisa had to get to school on time. Her mother had to get to work on time. Her father was home on his paid paternity leave, caring for Lisa’s younger brother and contributing equally to the running of the household. No one was in a rush because Dad had things firmly under control.”
She didn’t send her version of the story to Hazel’s teacher, but she did post it on Facebook where it’s was shared more than 3,000 times:
“The man as the leader of the house? that’s a bit sexist,” said Derrick Pirrotta on Facebook. “And its wrong to assume that the because the women works that children are confused. you must be living in the 1950’s.”
She did, however, send an email to the teacher who agreed that the worksheet was a little old fashioned and vowed to pay closer attention to homework assignments and the messages they are sending to her students.