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DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.


I’m Doug Johnson. This week on our program, we have music from Justin Bieber's latest album, "My World 2.0." And we answer a question about National Teacher Day in America.

But first, we tell you about a program that takes millions of kids out of school for a day and into the working world.


Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work

DOUG JOHNSON: On April twenty-second, some American children stayed out of school but they were not punished. They were with their parents. As Faith Lapidus tells us, it was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

FAITH LAPIDUS: The Ms. Foundation for Women started the program seventeen years ago, in nineteen ninety-three. At first it was just called Take Our Daughters to Work.

Gloria Steinem and other foundation leaders pointed to studies showing that self-image suffers as girls become teenagers. They can lose trust in their abilities and intelligence, especially in areas like science, math and technology.

So the Ms. Foundation planned a day for parents in New York City to show girls all the possibilities for them in the professional world. But there was so much interest, the organizers decided to make it national.

At first, girls mostly followed their mom or dad around at work to learn about their jobs. Later, employers and schools began to offer structured activities.

But from the beginning there were protests from parents and others about the exclusion of boys. So in two thousand three the day was renamed Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work.

Two thousand seven was the last year that the Ms. Foundation for Women headed the program. Now, the event is administered by a twelve-person group called the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation.

The event is in partnership with Mattel, the company that makes Barbie dolls.

Carolyn McKecuen is president of the foundation. She says a total of about thirty-three million children and adults are involved in the program.

About one-third of the adults work at large companies or nonprofit organizations. Another third are in small businesses. The rest work in education.

Carolyn McKecuen says the numbers from this year’s event are not final yet. But early reports suggest that participation was up at least ten percent from last year.

And she says the foundation is hoping to find support to expand the program internationally. She says there are lots of requests from other countries for information about how to set up similar programs.

DOUG JOHNSON: Coming up, we hand our microphone over to some of the children who came to work with their parents at VOA.


National Teacher Day

Our question this week comes from China. Li Meng wants to know about Teacher Day in America.

National Teacher Day is this Tuesday. The National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, gives a history of the celebration on its Web site.

It says the earliest beginnings are not clear. But around nineteen forty-four, a teacher in Arkansas sent letters to political and education leaders. Mattye Whyte Woodbridge called for a national day to honor teachers.

One of the people she wrote to was Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt. In nineteen fifty-three, the first lady persuaded Congress to declare a National Teacher Day. But it was only for that year.

There was similar action in nineteen eighty when Congress declared March seventh of that year National Teacher Day.

The National Education Association continued to observe the day in March. Then in nineteen eighty-five they moved it to the Tuesday of the first full week of May.

The event was also expanded, as we learned on the United States Census Bureau Web site. The N.E.A. and the National Parent-Teacher Association established Teacher Appreciation Week.

Next week many parents, students and administrators will express their appreciation through gifts, cards, flowers or other special treats. Some schools hold contests in which students write about their favorite teachers. The essays are read at special ceremonies.

A few years ago, the National Education Association asked teachers what they would most like to receive in appreciation of their efforts. Most said all they wanted was a simple "thank you."

So last year, students, parents, school officials, stars, politicians, athletes and other people were urged to write thank-you notes for the special teachers in their lives. The union collected the notes on a board twenty-three meters wide by almost two and a half meters tall.

Last week was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the United States. It was a good chance for our next generation of reporters here at VOA to ask other kids about their favorite teachers.

REPORTER: “Who’s your favorite teacher?

STUDENT: “My favorite teacher is Richard Stebbins. He was a nineteen sixty-four Olympic winner. He lets us wear his Olympic medal if our class does good on the tests.”

REPORTER: “That’s kind of fun!”

REPORTER: “What’s your name?”

STUDENT: “Broklin, B-R-O-K-L-I-N.

REPORTER: “What school do you go to?”

STUDENT: “Wade Elementary.”

REPORTER: “What grade are you in?”

STUDENT: “Kindergarten. Pre-K.”

REPORTER: “Who’s your favorite teacher?”

STUDENT: “Miss Duke.”

REPORTER: “What makes her a great teacher?”

STUDENT: “She makes me learn letters and she’s nice to me.”

REPORTER: “Who is your favorite teacher?”

STUDENT: “My favorite teacher is probably Miss Collin who is my main fifth grade teacher.”

REPORTER: “What do you like about her?”

STUDENT: “She’s really nice and she let’s everybody go at their own pace.”


Justin Bieber

DOUG JOHNSON: "Bieber fever" is a reaction to Justin Bieber, the sixteen-year-old pop singer from Canada. This week, in New Zealand, crowds of girls even pushed his mother down to get near him. She was OK. But earlier, in Australia, eight people were hurt and a performance was cancelled. As Mario Ritter tells us, Justin Bieber is traveling around the world to promote his new album.

MARIO RITTER: "My World 2.0" was released on March twenty-third. Sales have been number one on Billboard magazine’s top two hundred albums chart.

Here is Justin Bieber teaming with Ludacris for the song "Baby."


Justin Bieber got his big start on YouTube. Usher discovered him. As the rhythm and blues star tells it, when they first met, Justin sang him an Usher song -- and sang it better.

"My World 2.0" includes a lot of slow, romantic songs, but here is one you can dance to, "Somebody to Love."


Justin Bieber will be performing around the United States starting next month. From "My World 2.0" we leave you with "That Should Be Me."


DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by June Simms and Caty Weaver, who also was our producer. And we had additional reporting by Special English junior reporters Darick Simms and Daisy and Andrew Bracken.

You can find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs at You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes at VOA Learning English. You can post comments online and send us questions about American life.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.