WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Moving the School Year in Delaware to AFTER Labor Day: Wise?

A downstate lawmaker - State Senator Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) - wants Delaware's public schools to start classes AFTER Labor Day. He wants a task force to study the issue.

Hocker says such a revision of the calendar would allow young people to work longer and make more money. He contends this could be done WITHOUT reducing the number of school days.

Carol Everhart, President of the Rehoboth Beach--Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, complains starting the regular academic year BEFORE Labor Day creates staffing problems on one of the biggest beach tourism weekends of the year.

Hocker's push to begin the school year AFTER Labor Day raises so many questions and potential challenges I don't know where to start.

(1). Note that both Hocker and Everhart just talk about the economic benefits to THEIR business interests, NOTHING about the impact on education: An incredible disconnect, it would seem, to all the talk from the Markell Administration about Delaware's interest in upgrading education to compete in the global economy.

(2). Hocker insists this could be done WITHOUT cutting the number of school days. I fail to see that. Many schools around the country begin classes before Labor Day and don't finish until June 1st or early June. Furthermore, Delaware schools famously close, open late, or dismiss early for nearly ANY winter precipitation, not to mention hurricanes, flooding, and fog. In contrast, in some parts of the country, the snow has to be pretty deep to result in school closings. And you don't get hurricanes in the country's interior. Bottom line: Delaware kids are ALREADY getting fewer classroom hours. (Growing up in the Chicago area, my schools closed only ONCE in 12 years... when the snow drifts were more than two feet high!)

(3). Doesn't such a proposal just further disadvantage Delaware (and the United States) when one considers "summer learning loss", a significant problem for most U.S. & Canadian students, compared to students in many countries with year-round schooling. With that wide summer gap, kids forget things. Teachers here waste weeks having to review the previous year's work. Did Hocker even consider this potential downside?

An article in The TORONTO STAR a few years ago suggested - for the average child - the entire first month of school is wasted re-learning the previous academic year's material. Researchers at the Canadian Council on Learning, reviewing 39 studies on summer learning loss, discovered a drop in standardized test scores achieved in the fall compared to the spring testing results equated to the loss of a month's instruction. (And Canadian students usually rate far better than their U.S. counterparts!)

A Johns Hopkins University School of Education study determined the drop-off in students' mathematical computation skills: A mean loss of about 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency. That would be like missing a quarter of the previous school year. Now you do the math on how many months (years) would be missed over twelve years of education.

Many countries have year-round schooling, and often more total days in the classroom. New Zealand opts for four ten-week terms divided by three two-week, end-of-term vacations and an abbreviated summer break. The Japanese academic year begins in April and ends the following March, with breaks for summer, winter, and spring.

Indeed, in addition to the downsides of a long summer away from school, the U.S. annual school average of 180 days falls short of many other countries. In one recent assessment, South Korean kids average 220 school days, and achieved a number-two ranking in mathematics. Admittedly, the correlation may be coincidental. Finnish students went to school 190 days (just ten more than in the United States), and topped math & science scores.

I'm not suggesting year-round schooling is some panacea, and, indeed, the results appear to be mixed for the few U.S. school systems that have gone to year-round. (Although year-round schools produce lower drop-out rates, and studies have shown year-round schooling produces significant academic gains for at-risk, low performing, students.)

But does it make any sense to go in the OPPOSITE direction? Really?

Pity we don't see a similar enthusiasm for early-grade language immersion; going metric; academic extra-curriculars; etc.

By the way, what ever happened to local control, usually the ideological mantra for conservative Republicans?

Delaware's chief education blogger, Kilroy's Delaware, makes that point after linking to the WDEL story...


By the way, NEWSWEEK/The DAILY BEAST's list of "America's Best High Schools" has just come out. (The methodology was changed a few years ago.)

Three Delaware high schools rank in the Top Two Thousand, and one just across the state line in Pennsylvania:

# 62 The Charter School of Wilmington

You can hear my interview with the Charter School of Wilmington's president Charles Baldwin about Charter's top ranking here for a Delaware school...

Audio Here

# 239 Unionville High School (Kennett Square, PA)

# 350 Cab Calloway School of the Arts

# 1946 A.I. duPont High School

Posted at 7:54am on May 7, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 7, 2013 8:33am
Allan interesting points, but some realities of at least NCC schools. My experience with my kids [my oldest two went to Christina, Brandywine, and Colonial Districts at some point in their school "careers") are as follows:

[1] That first week of school before Labor Day is wasted, they don't do anything, not even give out books, they watch movies [and not the Encyclopeida Britanical films we all saw in school either - the kids get to pick the flicks], its too hot as most schools are not air- conditioned in the classrooms. So essentially that first week is free baby-sitting provided by the taxpayers, because there's no learning or reviewing going on.

[2] The schools waste a number of other weeks, by watching movies usually the week before the "Winter Holiday" formerly known when we were kids as the Christmas Holiday, and the week before the "Spring Holiday" formerly known as the Easter Holiday. Then the last week of the school year also is wasted [other than maybe high school which has final exams]. My point is the schools are NOT effectively using the time they now have, so losing one of those movie weeks isn't a big deal. Granted, they may just make the first week in September after Labor Day a movie week too, but that shows where their priorities truly lie.

[3] Back in the day [hate saying it this way, but when I was a boy] school didn't start until after Labor Day in that first week of September and yes, as most students walked to their local neighborhood schools, there weren't many snow days as I remember walking in pretty deep snow, yep up hill both ways [oh wait Delaware doesn't have any real hills]- heh heh. Yet we all could read our diplomas when we graduated, so there's more to it than simply starting earlier or staying later.

Your wife [if I recall correctly] is a school teacher [I believe at a Catholic School]. My guess is, if she changed jobs and started teaching at a public school, she'd be shocked at the difference between the two in terms of how quiet a class room is, etc., etc. Those differences [not counting the religious part] is where the difference is in why kids tend to get a better education at a Catholic/Christian/private school than at the local public school. Bringing those changes back to the public school so they are at least at the level of performance as when "I was a boy" would be such an improvement that most folks would gladly support any referendum, because they'd feel they were getting something for the tax dollars being spent - a good investment on the nation's future.

Notice, the teachers' unions, the school boards, and the highly paid [6-figure salaried] administrators never want to discuss that topic, so we end up with a truly mediocre educational experience for most kids putting us behind many other nations.

By the way, I don't blame the teachers. Most teachers I know in the public schools are dedicated professionals who want to bring the light of learning to their students, but the administrators quite often hamper their efforts, plus the discipline problems, state testing and being forced to teach to the test, etc., etc.

Tue, May 7, 2013 8:44am
Au contraire. This is the best thing that has happened to Delaware's eduction since the 90's. Let's be realistic here. You retain what you want to learn, and disregard the rest. Spending more time in school does not induce learning.

Some of you are still skeptical. Consider your day. If you are really tired, how much do you get done? When you are really energetic, how much do you get done? Productivity rises with the level of one's energy. nd that is with us simply going through motions. Try doing it with learning!

Whether you teach 100 days or 95 days matters little. Spending more time in school means you will tune out 20 of those days instead of 15; in any regards, you will still get the same knowledge you would have gotten irregardless of time spent slumped behind a desk.

Still skeptical? Consider this. You can tell me a thousand times that E = mc(squared). But after hearing it more than once, all of us will tune out and focus on something else, like that Monarch fluttering past the window. When the test comes, we'll be scratching our heads, what was that formula way back when? But tell us once, make it exciting and it is something we will always remember...

Still not convinced? Listen to this. Knowledge is like a cup one fills with water. One can fill it slowly, dumping a little out every now and then to keep adding, or one can fill it quickly. Either way, it still will hold the same. You can't put more into that cup, no matter how you wish.

Now when you want some of the water, which straw are you going to use? One that is wide and open? Or one that has been squished, squeezed, pinched, flattened, re squeezed, and has just a tiny hole through which it can pass?

There is a reason our kids were smarter back when school started after Labor Day and ended before Memorial Day. Their brains weren't as tired....

So Hocker's bill is the best thing that has been done for education since the year was erroneously lengthened.... More time in school does not make one smarter. Just like working a 10 hours day, 5 days a week, gets done the same amount of work as doing 8 hour days, 5 days a week. That ten hours is spent wasted. What makes one smarter, is more time interested in a topic. It is hard to be interested if you are in school during an late August heat wave and the A/C is turned off because the district couldn't pass their referendum...

Tue, May 7, 2013 8:49am
What about the kids and their parents? Let them have a final week together at summer's end with the long weekend. Why does family time have to take a back seat to "precious" education time? As Mike correctly points out, little actually happens the week before Labor Day. Not to mention the many "teachers days" when the students have the day off.

Tue, May 7, 2013 8:58am
You guys are missing the obvious here. Who is pushing this? Legislators from shore areas. Delaying school opening until after Labor Day means more business in the shore towns. Follow the money.

It amazes me how people lacking formal education themselves are so quick to declare how education should be conducted, even as they disparage formal education and those who have obtained it. Apparently not staying in school makes one an expert. Those who drop out tell teachers how to do their jobs.

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 9:11am
Here I side with Mr. Smith: Follow the money. And give absolutely no consideration to the greater public good.

Mike from Delaware: Schools may not be effectively using the time. That's a different issue.

And as I've noted before, I think your exaggerate the divide between public, religious, and private schools.

In all, you can hear foul language. In all, you can find students and parents chasing grades and giving not a whit if they're actually learning anything. (In fact it might be even worse in the private schools: Since the parent is directly paying the freight, the parent might actually feel "entitled" to reconsideration of a grade awarded to the child.)

And contrary to the stereotype, I've seen disruptive classes in private schools and orderly classes in public schools. And yes, the reverse.

To kavips... If additional days in school were so unproductive & so awful, why do they seem to work for other countries? You're a global kind of guy.

Is the United States singularly & spectacularly unable to promote academics? Could it be that the popular culture - from which Corporate America makes Millions of dollars (and politicians) - systematically undermines education, building on stereotypes which champion athletes over the academically successful -- "nerds"?

Asian countries do the reverse, and European countries may be somewhere in between...

Of course, coming up, that other American custom which - in my view - undermines U.S. education (For reasons I covered a year or two ago): Prom.

Then, in college, fraternities & sororities.

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 7, 2013 9:45am
"And give absolutely no consideration to the greater public good." What is the greater public good? In my opinion, that would be families spending more time together. I must be in the minority, but I like and prefer when my kids are home and we do stuff. Not starting till after Labor Day would allow that time. Instead of starting on Wednesday before Labor Day with a bunch of half-days, just start after Labor Day with full days.

And you talk of the beach industry and how that is the only focus, but in Delaware it is a HUGE focus. Schools in the Midwest still end in mid-May and start in mid-August on the same schedule as farming, but there aren't many family farms left. So why do they continue with that schedule?

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 9:54am
I know that's a convenient argument, but consider this, Arthur.

Asian societies are famously family-oriented, yet they still seem to manage year-round schooling AND often more calendar days in school.

I don't buy it. If you want to make family time, you can - year-round - over many weekends.

I could use your same argument and turn it on its head -- regarding Prom. So the guy has to work that many more hours after school and/or weekends to AFFORD the tux, the limo, etc. Ridiculous!

Grades, academic extra-curriculars, AND family time are all undermined.

Midwest schools, at least in suburbia, typically begin their academic years just before Labor Day and don't conclude until the end of May or early June.

Academics should not be sacrificed for the beach industry.

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 7, 2013 10:05am
The Daily Beast/Newsweek list of best high schools should correctly be titled "America's Best Public High Schools" since it is not open to any nonpublic school.

Mike from Delaware is right that most of the first week is a total waste of time. From my experience with Brandywine High School, there's really no reason to even go that week. They dismiss early and don't do much while they are there. I'm sure Brandywine is not alone.

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 10:13am
Mike... Correct with regard to the DAILY BEAST/NEWSWEEK rankings. Some of us have a further bone to pick in that some of the listed charter schools have admissions screenings.

And, of course, even the regular admission, public high schools are defined by their geography: Some parents may MOVE into more affluent public school districts.

I don't recall public school being a waste of time before Labor Day... as you recollect. I recall even getting homework before Labor Day! The same for college classes before Labor Day.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 7, 2013 10:26am
Kavips makes a good point about the amount of days. The schools, just as home-schoolers, are all required to have 180 school days. So the public schools apparently don't require 180 days, as they waste four of those weeks as I previously mentioned. IF the public schools on day one started in with handing out the books or syllabus or whatever they use now, and that takes a few minutes and then on day one, started with maybe a review of where they should have left off from the previous year, and that week before Labor Day was spent in that manner, then I could agree with Allan's view that the extra week is important, but watching movies the kids choose is a waste of time for both the teacher and the students. So why not save the tax dollars for electricity, water, school lunches, etc., and have the kids stay home until after Labor Day?

Unless things have changed since my kids were in public school, most schools, at least in NCC, only have A/C in the office areas, not in classrooms, making those classrooms in the last week of August quite hot and miserable to sit in, so even if the teacher tried to teach or review, chances are not many if any of the kids are going to be very focused on school.

Tue, May 7, 2013 10:28am
Masters Degree in Economics here Mr. Smith. Be a bit wiser with your personal insults.

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 10:36am
Mike from Delaware...

I must admit I'm amazed how this notion of watching movies "the kids choose" keeps coming up. Certainly foreign to my own experiences.

The A/C argument is a valid one, but to me, only underscores this country's feudal infrastructure and how the public-schools-funded-by-property-tax referenda system (used in no other country) is such an utterly impractical and self-defeating proposition, especially when we keep giving lip-service to "world-class schools".

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 7, 2013 12:54pm
I find it difficult to believe this is a topic of discussion. Starting back to school prior to Labor Day, other than college, is a rather recent change. Regardless, moving the starting date is inconsequential. Starting school a week later equals ending school a week later, the lag time is no different. Representative Hocker is asking for a "Task Force" to study this issue, but in reality, a task force should be assembled to investigate the possibility of extracting our elected officials' heads from their asses.

Tue, May 7, 2013 1:21pm
It may be worth noting that much of the country starts school around the first of August. School starts after Labor Day did not come down from Mt. Sinai.

Transfer payments with strings attached is worth a whole discussion of its own. States - and even feds - micro-manage school districts. In return, districts get state and federal dollars and don't have to raise taxes. Only problem is the same people who pay school taxes pay state and federal taxes. No free lunches - ever.

And I have known enough teachers to appreciate that parents do meddle and get in the away - usually not for the betterment of their kids' educations. Parents say they want their kids to learn -- but don't dare assign them too much work or make it too difficult, and oh, by the way, 'I'm taking my kid out for two weeks to go to Disney World'. I want my kid to play in the band and I expect the band to sound good but band practice is cutting into family time. And I haven't read that book but I don't want my kid reading it.

Just three more points: Vouchers. Vouchers. Vouchers.

Tue, May 7, 2013 1:32pm
Allan, I am not reminiscing about my own high school days back in the dark ages. I went to Salesianum, and even there, the first 2 days or so were more orientation, buying books, getting I.D. pictures, etc., with dismissal around noon. When I talk about Brandywine High School, I am talking about this year with a child of my own there.

I don't ever remember starting before Labor Day. Not sure when that happened. It really wouldn't be a big deal if parents didn't make such a big stink about having some off days eliminated during the course of the year to make up that difference. There's no need to have the week after Easter off. Cut that to Monday and Tuesday, and you've made up 3 days right there.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 7, 2013 1:37pm
Allan: the movies the kids pick is what I experienced with my two older kids while they were in public school [ whether this still happens I don't know, but wouldn't surprise me if it did].

Naturally the parents aren't told upfront, or before this happens so maybe a movie your child viewed at school might be rated "R" with violence, nudity, sex, drugs, drunkeness, that glorifies those things where parental consent should be present, especially if the child is under 17. But even if the movie's picked are "G" rated, is that really a worthwhile use of the student's and teacher's time? Only if viewing an educational movie or maybe a movie version of a famous book, like Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mocking Bird, 1984, Brave New World, maybe a history based movie like Tora Tora Tora, etc. Where the movie viewed could lead into some thought provoking discussions, rather than just base entertainment.

I visited my son's elementary class one day when I worked shift work, and the kids were doing a paper, and when the first kids finished the teacher put on a cartoon video for them to watch while the other kids finished, I'm not kidding. So what happened, many of the other kids stopped working and watched the TV. I took her aside and pointed this out and suggested why not have them read quietly or draw so as to not distract the other kids from their task. At least for the rest of the time I was there, that's what she did. So I've been there done that.

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 1:52pm

We bought our books BEFORE the beginning of classes BEFORE Labor Day.

Mike from Delaware---

I find what you describe as so "Mickey Mouse". It would've repelled me as a kid.

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 7, 2013 2:41pm
Mr. Hocker is incredibly honest and monumentally stupid. To advocate that kids start after Labor Day for the purpose of letting them work more is despicable. What's more... only a fraction of the older kids would be working anyway. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 7, 2013 3:19pm
Allan: Remember in public schools the books are free; you get books at the beginning of each year and hand them in at the end of the year, unlike at a Catholic School where you buy them and can keep them, or resell them.

When my son was in the eighth grade, he came home one day from Science class and told us students had received a "pet rock". They were to give it a name and write a short story about how it liked its first day in school [this was for a Science class, not an English or Grammar class]. He was bored. I went to school and asked the teacher about the assignment, because I thought my son was making it up. He wasn't. The teacher told me, "Sir, please try to understand, each classroom has all sorts of students in it, smart kids, average kids, slow learners, and even some Special Ed kids. Some of these children will grow up and barely be able to say, 'Would you like a hot apple pie with your order today?' So we're trying to make the class relevant to those kids." At which I said, at the expense of the other kids who can, and want to learn something? Why mix the groups? [Another thing that wasn't done in public schools when I was a boy]. She was frustrated and couldn't give me solid answer.

Now maybe you'll better understand why we home-schooled my youngest child [couldn't afford a private or Christian school] until high school and then he went to Delcastle VoTech High where he did great, because he had a solid foundation of elementary/middle school skills learned prior to entering high school [many assume, because we're Christians, that we home-schooled for religious reasons - wrong]. I had enough of the nonsense where the only time the public schools wanted to hear from you was on referendum day to vote for higher taxes [not counting the Vo-Tech where we, and our son, had a terrific experience].

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 3:43pm
Mike from Delaware:

Whether one pays for textbooks in the public schools varies around the country. We paid for public high school books...

To your other points, that's why big schools "track" students and even smaller schools may informally "track" students.

Tracking can be good or bad, depending on how it's done.

I object to schools - including one Catholic high school here in the Wilmington area that I'm thinking about - which want to track students at the SAME level for every course. That's poppycock. Each individual is unique. A student may excel at reading, but be mediocre in math or science, and vice-versa. A student may excel in history and the fine arts, but be just average in English.

This is why - with a decent administration - I actually prefer a BIG school... many more options.

My public high school had an enrollment (then) of 5,300 and the opportunities were endless.

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 7, 2013 5:10pm
Breaking From Dover... Bethany Hall Long Facebook says she will vote yes... 11 votes are in and marriage equality will pass. National news is quoting News Journal saying the same thing.

back to the fun...

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 5:16pm
Gay marriage clears the Delaware State Senate, 12-9.
Delaware becomes the 11th state in the Union.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 7, 2013 6:08pm
Allan: I think you missed my point. Now all sorts of kids are in the same class, back in the day, the smart kids were in one group, the average kids in another, the slower kids were in another, and Special Ed was off by itself somewhere. Now they're all in the same room with one poor teacher trying to teach to all those various abilities. THAT is the problem.

As far as tracking goes, I do agree, a Special Ed kid should never be required to pass the same test as the "regular" ability kids that's totally not reasonable.

Billsmith: said, "And I have known enough teachers to appreciate that parents do meddle and get in the away - usually not for the betterment of their kids' educations. Parents say they want their kids to learn -- but don't dare assign them too much work or make it too difficult, and oh, by the way, 'I'm taking my kid out for two weeks to go to Disney World'. I want my kid to play in the band and I expect the band to sound good but band practice is cutting into family time. And I haven't read that book but I don't want my kid reading it."

Sure there are parents who do take their kid out of school for a two week vacation or who do not try to help their kid with homework. As I said, I have no problem with a parent saying a book might not be suitable for THEIR kid, but they have no right to get that book banned so other kids don't get to read it. I'd rather my kid read the book [but I want to know about BEFORE its read so I can have some meaningful dialog with my kid so its NOT just the teacher's spin put on a topic].

In my case, I did work with my kids, problem is, when I was in school we learned to read by Phonics. When my kids were in public schools they were taught whole language. Two very different approaches. Would the teachers send home some tutorial to help the out of date fuddy duddy parent's to learn the basic concept of whole language? NO, so how are you to help your kid read, when you don't understand the concept being used?

I remember my son was having a math class that used some sort of math concept from India. I called the teacher and asked if she'd photo copy the instructional part from the teacher's book [I'd gladly pay for the copies] so I could read it and understand what this was about so I could help my son understand it, because from looking at my son's math book, I had no clue what this was. I was told, no we can't do that. Then I replied, well then don't get upset when parents can't help their kids with homework, because its not always because we WON'T help with the homework, we just may not understand what is to be done in the assignment, so we CAN'T help. If you're not willing to assist us then don't complain, because I'm not helping my son with his Math, you can't have it both ways. She had no answer to that.

Parent's aren't always the problem.

Allan Loudell
Tue, May 7, 2013 6:18pm
Mike from Delaware--

I DO get your point and I can sympathize with you. Really.

I'm just saying tracking hasn't (completely) disappeared.

Students may mix in the halls and in some activities, but I agree... it can be utterly unproductive to mix students with greatly different ability levels in the very same classroom!

Allan Loudell

Wed, May 8, 2013 12:28am
Teatime: I don't appreciate your comments about Gerald Hocker. I used to work for him and he's a long time personal friend since about 1997. He's a very smart businessman and there's nothing stupid about him.

Fri, May 10, 2013 4:21am
I recall a finding for a sociological study of class differences in the US. Middle-class (and above) parents tend not to help their kids with homework. Working-class parents do. Middle-class kids learn to work without supervision, which is how executives and professionals function. Working-class kids learn to work under supervision, which is how hourly workers mostly function - with a foreman watching their every move. Middle-class workers are evaluated on results; working-class workers are evaluated on doing what they are told.
Helping kids with homework is programming them for the lower rungs. Kids don't learn how to figure things out, find things out or solve problems themselves, and they don't learn how to persist in the face of difficulty. It's like academic training wheels.
Of course, now politicians tell everyone that they are middle-class.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, May 10, 2013 8:36am
Billsmith: Helping your kids get a concept so they can then do the homework is very different from doing it for them. The only time I got involved with their homework, other than checking to insure it was done and done well, [and that they had understood what was being taught] was if they had a problem they could not figure out. Then I'd assist them in getting the concept. I'd asked questions trying to get them to think about what they were doing, what were they trying to accomplish, etc., etc. Once I was convinced they understood what they were doing, I was finished until they finished the assignment. They went back to work doing their homework. Once finished, I'd check the paper to see how well they did and if they really did get the concept.

The idea of homework is to give students an opportunity to practice what they learned that day. IF the child didn't really get it that day while in school, then that child does need some assistance in making sure he/she understands how to do the math problem, or the science concept that is involved, etc. It serves no purpose to allow the kid to imbed in his/her mind a wrong concept via the homework, only to then have to try to re-learn it the next day in class when the teacher has moved on to the next concept. Math is essentially building blocks; you miss a block and you're going to have difficulties solving and understanding everything else from there.

Granted, the child whose mind is atuned to math or say writing/grammar most times won't need that sort of help, but not all kids are that atuned to math or writing/grammar.

Also, if a child is allowed to wallow in not being able to grasp a concept [say in math,] that child then, at an early age, might decide he/she isn't interested in math, and simply do enough just to get by.

If that is working-class, then so be it. My kids did well in school and can read their diplomas. One of my kids does billing for medical insurance at a doctor's office. One is licensed in 22 states to process and approve mortgages [and whatever is involved in that]. The youngest is just getting started, so right now he works fulltime in retail [even gets benefits and paid vacation] and has a part-time paid gig making training videos and public service announcements for a non-profit organization. His plans are to go full-time in that sort of work, hopes some day to make movies.

Who knows, maybe one day, one or all of my kids might be an executive in their chosen industry. I don't measure success that way though. What's important is how they live their lives. Did they live it honorably, honestly, faithfully, etc, etc.? Were they the sort of person who people were glad to see enter a room rather than being the sort of person people were glad when they left a room? So IF those positive things can be said about them at the end of their lives, then, from where I sit, they will have been successful. If that's a working-class attitude, then so be it. To me that sounds more like a working with class attitude.

Fri, May 10, 2013 10:19am
MikeFromDelaware: What you just described captures the working-class attitude. Besides, from what I hear from teachers, parents who think they are helping are not helping.

OK, your kids hold working-class jobs. If you'd let your kid do his own homework, he might be the doctor and some blue-collar kid would be doing billing for him. Of course, you'd run the risk that your kid would think for himself and hold ideas different from yours - including on religion. And I doubt that you could tolerate that.
Heck, I bet you'd go postal if it turned out one of your kids were gay.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, May 10, 2013 10:40am
So you're saying that due to my influence on my kids' lives, that kept them from becoming gay/lesbians? So it IS a choice. That's good to know.

If one of my kids happened to be gay/lesbian would not change my love for them. Blood is thicker than water. I love them no matter what, Bill.

So you are a bit of an elitist too, looking down on us working-class folks [you know the people who actually DO the work and get things done]. It is what it is.

Fri, May 10, 2013 12:13pm
MikeFromDelaware: You do like to twist things. You can train your kids to be working-class. What I said was if one (or more) turned out to be gay, you would not be able to handle it. You would freak out. You would disown them - all with Christian love, of course. If one (or more) turned out to be gay, you or the upbringing they received would have nothing to do with it. If anybody gets the blame, it's your god.

Working-class people only do what they are told. They don't imagine, create, innovate, invent, or making complex decisions. Besides, you are the one who complains about working-class people - people who turn lugnuts is how I believe you put it - and the salaries and benefits they receive. Unlike you, I don't begrudge workers decent treatment and a decent standard-of-living. They work hard under unpleasant conditions and they are entitled to decent wages and decent treatment. But they are not educated and I see no reason to respect their uninformed and invalid opinions.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, May 10, 2013 1:27pm
Billsmith: You think you know more than you actually do [so typcial of the so-called elitist type that seems to be what you'd like to be], as you apparently can read now minds and hearts. As usual, your hatred of Christians, their faith and their God - Jesus THE CHRIST, is telling and has blinded you.

Sorry I tried to have an intelligent discussion with you on this topic. Some things are just a waste of time.

Have a nice weekend.

Fri, May 10, 2013 5:18pm
MikeFromDelaware: No, I just read what you and others of the religious right and the tea party post.

Have you ever bothered to wonder why people hate Christians? Probably not. That might shake your persecution complex and cause you to begin to see what self-righteous hypocrites and bullies you are. You want everyone to think the way you want them to think, to live the way you want them to live and act the way you want them to act. But it's all right since you claim to be doing this for their own good.

The difference between Christians and normal people is normal people don't like being told what to do; Christians apparently do, since you have imagined for yourself a celestial dictator in the sky and you all want to be his storm-troopers.

What is your explanation? Put yourself in somebody else's moccasins. Why do other people hate Christians? Somehow I doubt you're even able able to consider this question - let alone take responsibility for the reactions you get from other people. But their reactions don't matter, do they? Christians are good. Everyone else is evil.

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