WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Colonial referendum barely passes; the mirage of charter schools

As reported elsewhere, voters in the Colonial school district barely passed the district's property tax increase.

You can hear my interview with Colonial school district superintendent Dorothy Linn...

Audio Here

Meanwhile, a debate rages over charter schools, school "choice" for parents, etc.

I've long contended if a charter school screens its potential students through exams, it's no great miracle if that charter school produces better academic outcomes than for an average general admissions, public high school.

Just like general admission public high schools in more affluent suburbs which produce greater proportions of state scholars, National Merit finalists and semi-finalists, etc. What a shock! (Yet the affluent families in those districts normally don't rebel against property tax increases in those districts, even when those property taxes are two or three times the level of Delaware's. They're invested in those schools, maybe even moved to a particular suburb for the reputation of its schools. Yet, beneath all that affluence and incredible academic and extra-curricular offerings, some students from more modest backgrounds struggle at the bottom.)

"Pandora" poses all sorts of questions about charter schools and "choice" at DELAWARE LIBERAL...


Posted at 6:25am on June 5, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 7:33am

Again, this referendum is very unfair to the seniors and others on fixed incomes who do not have kids in school.

This process needs to be reformed where only property owners with kids are subject to the increased taxes from a referendum.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 7:40am
Allan Loudell: Isn't this already being discussed here? Don't you read the replies to your own blog posts?

Here's the problem: Smart people go to good schools and get good jobs. They breed smart kids and make good money and send their kids to good schools. .... The game is rigged. It's over before it begins. But politicians have decided to convince "the marks" the game is not rigged and everyone can go to good schools and get good jobs and make good money. To keep this illusion going, when it turns out most children are NOT above average outside Lake Wobegon, the politicians blame the teachers and come up with stuff like "No Child Left Behind" so people will keep paying for education that doesn't deliver on its promises. Every few years, working class taxpayers start realizing (again) that their kids are not getting what they, the taxpayers, have been paying for. So, there is a taxpayer revolt, like this one. Now, the administrators and politicians have to come up with a new excuse to avoid telling their parents Johnny can't read because Johnny isn't too bright and Johnny isn't willing or able to do the work.

Maybe we should get rid of compulsory education laws and make school down to the elementary grades selective admissions like college. If a kid doesn't pass a grade, let him repeat it once and then flunk him out. It's a much cheaper way than the current system to produce illiterates. And not every kid needs, wants, or can handle higher education.

Allan Loudell
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 7:50am
To teatime...

I continue to believe the uniquely U.S. system of property tax referenda for public schools unfairly singles out schools at the same time politicians give lip service to "world class" education and the like. Why can't we vote on DelDOT projects? Why can't we vote on other initiatives?

When voters ONLY get the opportuniy to reject property-tax increases for schools - but not for other things - of course, voters will seize that opportunity!

To Mr. Smith:

You KNOW I review the comments here because I frequently correct spelling, grammar, etc.

Yes, of course, I know we've had substantial discussion about education on this blog, but I think "Pandora" raises questions about charter schools and "choice" that I've not seen in the comments.

I particularly direct your attention to the "comments" under the Delaware Liberal post, particularly on how the word "choice" may be deceptive.

I believe your points about working-class parents were best illustrated when Delaware's experiment with a two-tiered diploma system went down in flames, when parents rebelled as some of their kids ended up getting the lower certificate. Of course, one heard practically no discussion as to whether peer pressure, excessive after-school sports, etc., dragged down academics.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 8:29am
Interesting article that is biased towards public schools, as they herald the successes of elementary schools, but barely discuss the failure of high schools. They imply the kids know more than did their parents. Really, I can read and make change, and even do simply math. NO, this Pandora is off base on this, in my opinion.

The one section, in the article, where Pandora finally does discuss the low level of achievement in high school, she said:

"Unfortunately, these successes [referring to the elementary successes] wash out almost completely by high school. The NAEP has data for kids at ages 9, 13, and 17, and the 17-year-olds' scores show virtually no improvement in the past few decades. No one knows for sure why this is, but the raw data is clear: Reading scores are up only one point and math scores are up only two. And when you break it down, the results are just as lackluster. In reading, low scorers are up two points. Blacks' scores increased sharply during the '80s but have actually declined eight points since then. Latinos' scores show the same pattern, peaking and then declining six points. And the gender gap is 11 points, with girls more than a full grade level ahead.

The picture in math is only slightly brighter. Low scorers improved 13 points through 1992, but have plateaued since then. The story is roughly the same for black and Latino scores, which rose during the '80s but have been essentially flat since then."

THAT is what the so-called Education Professionals [those 6-figured salaried folks are paid to fix and even as this report says, hasn't. They aren't even sure why it's not better or what the problem is. Yet have no problem tapping the taxpayers for more money to continue the same failed policies that are failing our kids.

Good luck getting an administrator, from any district to do a live interview with you Allan on this topic. If you do get one, give all of us here a head's up so we can try to tune in, or better yet, post it as a podcast so we all can hear the "weasel's" excuses, because apparently these folks have no clue how to fix the problem and listening to he/she do the sidestep on your show could be entertaining.

Note the school districts never want to discuss this.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 8:35am
TeaTime: Your comment about only taxing people with kids in schools was ridiculous before and even more ridiculous now since you ignored the issues others raised about it. You're old; you don't want to pay school tax. We get it.

Allan Loudell: There have been reports about "peer pressure" amongst Black students which discourages those Black students who want to achieve academically (often they are taunted for acting "White"). Then Black activist groups have tried to get the University of California to limit the numbers of Asian students who, they say, "unfairly" take up too many slots. But, yes, in most schools, students who perform well on the playing field get far more recognition than those who perform well in the lab or classroom. Many of the same people who complain about taxes are unwilling to see cuts in interscholastic athletics.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 9:38am
teatime - That's a ludicrious statement. I don't need Medicare or Medicaid, so I shouldn't pay taxes for those. I don't need paratransit, so I shouldn't pay taxes to support that. I don't use buses, so I shouldn't pay taxes to support public transportation.

Allan Loudell
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 9:57am
The Colonial school district superintendent - Dorothy Linn - will be on-the-air with me at 12:12 p.m.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 10:16am
Allan, I'll try to have the radio on listening at 12:12, Thanks for the head's up.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 10:21am
All school taxes should be at the state level. They should be collected as a component of Delaware Income Tax. Period. When my income takes a huge hit, like it did a couple of years ago, I don't have to be as worried about having the money for that portion of my property taxes.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 11:00am
I'm against giving more money to schools so they can keep their extra-curricular activities going when it can be better spent educating. Use it to make children smarter or give me my money back.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 12:17pm
JimH: Good idea, but you may have hit on the reason school districts and many local governments like property taxes - they are more consistent than income taxes. Rich people like property taxes because property values are a smaller portion of total income for them than for the rest of us and they end up paying less with property taxes than they would with income taxes. Renters figure they don't pay at all. So, homeowners in the middle get the biggest bite. On top of that, in places with modest home prices, a bigger percentage of the home's value goes to schools and local services. As I recall, PA a few years back let school districts and local governments switch to an income tax and most places voted down the income tax.

TeaTime ignores the fact that everybody pays property taxes. People with no kids. People with a vacation home. Businesses. Taxes on non-voters make up a pretty big chunk most places and they get no vote at all.

bmak: Good luck cutting high school football and basketball. Bring it up at your next school board meeting and let us know what happens.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 1:45pm
Exactly my point bill smith: Voters, school boards, and the state are not serious about education and our children's future. If they were, they'd have no problem cutting high school football. The school board has already mismanaged our tax dollars and we keep giving them more. This is no reflection on the teaching staff themselves, many of whom are the saving grace of our public schools.

Allan Loudell
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 2:52pm
We have a couple of generations of kids (and parents) who worship competitive sports. That's why it's politically so difficult to shelve sports during a period of austerity.

In that respect, Delaware is more like Texas than Minnesota.

Unfortunately, parents hear about sports scholarships for college; they don't seem to hear about academic scholarships. So some parents "push" their kids into sports, whether the kids choose athletics or not.

However I must fundamentally disagree with you, bmak, on your central point.

If a high school or elementary school insists a student athlete maintain a certain grade point average, that might actually provide an incentive for a student athlete to strive for better grades. And to the extent competitive sports makes student athletes more positive about school in general, these young people might be inspired to make that extra effort.

However, the corollary to that is the schools - under pressure - which would hesitate to take a star athlete off the court or off the field. (In extreme cases, this is why certain high schools - particularly in the South, but also in other places - will even protect a star athlete accused of sexual assault.)

The Charter School of Wilmington offers an interesting example of the sports psychology: The first president of the Charter School of Wilmington told me his school simply HAD to offer competitive sports to counter the image of being a "geek school", and frankly, because even the parents of gifted students wanted it. At least to me, a sad commentary.

(The above, in itself, may partially explain why students may show improvement in core subjects at the elementary school level only to fall behind by the secondary school level. As I've indicated before, the popular culture undermines rigorous academics, and Corporate America earns Millions of dollars from it even as Corporate America complains about mediocrity in U.S. education.)

Apart from athletic extra-curriculars, you have the academic extra-curriculars. All the research I've seen over the years suggests student involvement in academic extra-curriculars substantially improves students' academic performance, despite the time spent on those extra-curriculars.

Certain extra-curriculars reinforce academics; many are extensions of academics.

Delaware high schools - public and private - frankly offer far fewer extra-curriculars than some of the big suburban high schools in some of the major metropolitan areas.

I've written about this before: I believe the public/charter/private school competition undermines all three in Delaware.

I would argue further - particularly if a student from a Delaware high school attends a large public university - that student might suffer a competitive disadvantage at the start competing with students who had enjoyed the advantage of many, many academic extra-curriculars.

bmak... How do you KNOW a particular school board has mismanaged your tax dollars? As I posted previously, you've got school districts around the country where the property taxes are two, three times as high, but affluent parents are "invested" in the public schools, and the prestige of the schools enhances property values, so few people complain.

Allan Loudell

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 3:55pm
Allan - You and I will disagree about competitive sports at the high school level. The issue I take is the level of obsession for 6--14-year-olds. Why do elementary and middle public schools require athletics? I have no problem with private elementary schools doing it since we, the parents, pay for them. But why shouldn't that be the first thing cut in elementary and middle public schools? And the reason is that it keeps kids out of trouble is bubkus.

As for high school athletics, they provide a lot of benefits, beyond competition. I am sure you don't read Sports Illustrated, but SI has had several articles over the last year about teams coming together for their communities - the recent edition had an article about the Oklahoma tornado. Look at what sport did in Boston after the bombing. It helped unite a city.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 5:44pm
arthur: Sports is a big business and a lot of businesses use doing things for the community as promotional stunts. Mostly what they do is "feel good" and provides little in the way of substantial benefit.

In Boston, a sporting event is what gave the bombers a target of opportunity. The Marathon, however, is not a school sporting event. Unlike the team sports favored by schools, street races encourage broad participation and encourage physical fitness. I notice a lot of football coaches exceed Chris Christie in girth. These sports do nothing to build lifetime fitness, which would be a valid goal for schools. Instead they discourage it.

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 8:16pm
In Marion County Illinois, where I'm originally from, people 70 and over are exempt from property tax.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 5, 2013 10:17pm
We've discussed that some who graduate from High School can not read their diplomas, obviously that's not all graduates. Here is an article that discusses books that become movies and movies that become books, who's reading them, etc.


Thu, Jun 6, 2013 1:29am
whoa.. whoa there Mike... back up and look at what you're saying... "some who graduate from High School can not read their diplomas"...

Think about that for a minute.. People actually graduating who can't read their diplomas... Really Mike. Diplomas are simple to read. Not like a book. You're saying they have gone through 12 years of school and keep getting passed up to the next grade, and they don't have a 3rd grade reading level yet? They can't read their own name or that of the school they've been going too? You either Know this is impossible and you are repeating it thinking we are too dumb and will believe you, or... you were fed a whole baloney and you believed it...

Really How can anyone not read their diploma?

So.. you are using this false piece of a "tall tales" which is like using Paul Bunyan or Pecos Pete to justify something in the real world. Do you personally know of anyone who finished all twelve years of school and can't read their name or their schools name or the word "graduation"? You must introduce them to the world... Yes, it is possible some people may have been home schooled and never taught how to read. But they won't graduate. They won't walk across the floor to get a diploma! Seriously, do you even think when you hear things like that? I know a student that had half his brain cut out by doctors. He's in 5th Grade and he can read well enough to read a diploma, that's with half a brain. .. Where is this person who graduated, and the thousands, millions, just like them?
Here is another one:
"They imply the kids know more than did their parents. Really, I can read and make change, and even do simply math." Once again let's look at that to see how it could really be true., ok so US teens contribute $208 billion to the economy. You are saying that all those teens, 25.6 million, don't know how to make change? Or are you saying half, 12,8 million can't make change? Or one fourth? 6.4 million don't know how to make change? Or 1/8,1/16,1/32? Or.. are you saying one person you heard about or crossed paths with didn't know how to make change different from the way she was taught, so our entire educational system is ka-pluie?
Here is another big one.
"Voters, school boards, and the state are not serious about education and our children's future. If they were, they'd have no problem cutting high school football." Really? Really? Because we have football, no voters, no school boards, and no state is serious about education? Obviously someone does not go to school boards, or read the minutes, or listen to meetings on line, or read the publications the state's pull out... If they did, they would know that these people are serious about education. Do you think they don't have children themselves? Really, like getting rid of football is going to make a person smarter? They will watch foot ball on tv. They won't study..

Platitudes are all old wives tales, and with the slightest investigation, it is pretty obvious that it would be impossible to be true...

Which is why education needs to be left to experts, such as Pandora. At least she doesn't use everything she's heard from people who've heard it all, in basing her decisions...

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 4:51am
Kavips: You take certain sayings too literally. The statement about graduates being unable to read their diplomas is metaphoric for the lax educational standards of the past several years, and it's your heros on the left who have made it that way.

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 5:08am
Yes, MikeFromDelaware, you can't believe everything you read. If something sounds too good - or too outrageous - to be true, it probably is.

Kavips, some stay-at-home mom who writes a blog doesn't qualify as an "expert."

Pizza, the problem is not "the left" as you always want to believe. The problem is parents. Flunk somebody's kid or hold their kid back to repeat a grade and see what happens. And the problem is the education bureaucracy playing CYA.

And, no, it's probably not a "metaphor." Your heroes on the right will make up anything to make a point.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Jun 6, 2013 5:58am
As I expressed in my last "comment", I'm not hellbent against competitive sports; I acknowledge competitive athletics can potentially lead to better grades, if an athlete has to maintain a particular grade-point average, and to the extent "school spirit" makes the student athlete more positive about academics generally.

But I also noted the distinct downside above, that is, in communities where the high school football team reigns, the tendency to allow someone to play not matter what: Teachers who are "pressured" to award student athletes inflated grades just so the student athlete can continue to play.

No similar pressure exists for students involved in academic competition and academic extra-curriculars (although they'd probably be doing better anyway!)

But I object to the inflated emphasis on sports; I've noted before in this blog how even some pricey, "elite" private high schools in northern Delaware FORCE their students to participate in a competitive sport after school (so the school can get away without offering P.E. during the regular school day). I've talked to private school teachers about this. Such a policy absolutely decimates ACADEMIC extra-curricular activities after school. It utterly amazes me that affluent parents would agree to such an arrangement.

I also object to pandering to jocks: I happened to take part at a career day at an unnamed (Catholic) high school just a few days ago. It was pretty clear who the "jocks" were; some (not all) were generally more disruptive, and plainly didn't have an intellectual interest.

To Arthur's point above: The problem is college recruiters are now trying to identify gifted athletes at an earlier and earlier age. Not just high school, but at the middle or junior-high-school levels. Unrealistic parents grasping for pie-in-the-sky (and coaches) may "push" their kids to play at an extraordinary level; everything else is secondary.

Another effect I've not noted before: Teachers who are mostly unavailable after school to assist students with academic problems because that teacher has to run off to coach a sport! This is yet another example of misguided priorities.

I agree entirely with Mr. Smith's comments about sports as big business; the value of street races; the girth of many coaches (I might also mention their inherent inability to express themselves well in English!); and what happens physically to many "jocks" later in life.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 6, 2013 8:29am
My wife had a part-time job a few years ago, and a couple of her co-workers could barely read the simple forms they had to use with their customers. So yes, there are some who somehow graduated [they said they did graduate from local public high schools] and apparently might not be able to read their diplomas. Certainly many of us have run into counter-help who can barely take your hamburger order, and even with the computer telling them how much change to give you, they still have a problem doing it.

True story, a number of years ago we were in the Ponderosa Steak House in Elkton; a bunch of us were in line waiting to check out. After 10 minutes of standing and the line NOT moving, I walked up to the register to see what was going on. The computer had crashed and the girl didn't know how to make change, so the line was at a stop. So I gave her instructions as to how to give change. Once she understood it and she was set to go, the line started moving again. So I'm not making up this stuff; I've experienced it.

I'm not saying all kids graduating can't read their diplomas, make change, or do simply math, but there apparently are enough who fit this description that many companies now require a college degree for basic simple jobs that do not require a college education.

So from where I'm sitting, there is a problem which the public schools seem uninterested in addressing, much less fixing. The only thing they want from the public is tax dollars.

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 8:45am
Mr. Pizza... yes, and no. Taking Mike's piece literally, and exposing it for what it was, shows all of us that platitudes are simply metaphors. They can... or cannot have any basis in reality. You can think the left destroyed the school system (a platitude), but you can't find any facts to prove it. Bill says the school system was destroyed by parents, and I will offer by electronics. If it is impossible for an executive to sit through a company lecture with his phone off, how does one expect a daughter not to emulate her mother? Or a son his father? Point is: Our society is too darn interesting for either adults or children to focus on a power point presentation about something that really does not affect them. For both adults and children... if what we are being exposed to, really does matter to us, we are all eyes and ears.

People learn what they think is important. The brain is flooded with info every second. That visual of a person going in a door, picked up out the left corner of the left eye, gets seen by the receptors in the eye and gets sent to the processor in the brain. But, what you call "you", never sees it. You are driving and your brain doesn't even bother to send it to your cortex where you can acknowledge it..

Many here grew up in the generation right after WWII. Geography was important at that time. Many of us collected multiple facts about countries, capitals, and borders. Today, that is irrelevant in ways one could not have foreseen. The entire Soviet bloc has changed. The Balkans (Yugoslavia wasn't part of the Soviet bloc) have changed. Africa has changed; Asia has changed... So what was so important knowing the names of all the rivers in the Soviet Union? And being determined whether you got into a great university by whether or not you could fill the blanks on this map?


Today we have calculators. We can't function without them. We add two numbers, push a button, add one more, push another button and give that total back to a guest. That is what Corporate America is teaching people on their very first job. "Don't think. Trust." If you think you might make a mistake and create an issue. If you trust the numbers on the screen, you will always be right." So to blame a poor kid during a power failure for not being able to remember "His rivers of the former Soviet Union" as endemic of education overall, is pretty unfair."

Now some of you (I'm assuming from bits of your bio you've let out time and time again) grew up in an environment where if you were not savvy and sharp when you went to buy your penny candy, if you didn't count your change back from the gypsies in front of them, you would be missing one or two dear precious coins. That was important to you and similar members of your generation, because that lost money, counted as real pieces of candy you couldn't ever own and enjoy. You learned the "concept of change" because gosh, darn it, it was important to you.

We learn what is important to us and discard the rest. That is fact, not platitude. We could not function if we had to react to everything our brain was feeding us...

The whole outcry over Common Core, is really about who will control what our kids will learn. For example in an Advanced Placement high school English Class here in Delaware, a Common Core Class did not read any literature all year. Not one single piece. Instead they were handed packets each day. In one of those packets were instructions on how to assemble a ceiling fan. When questioned up the ladder as to why Shakespeare was bumped for instructions on how to assemble a ceiling fan, the answer came down that was what employers wanted children to be able to do. Shakespeare does nothing for a business which is outside the publishing world.

Yet most of the previous generation, developed their life's outlook off Shakespeare's works to some extent...

So now, there is conflict over curriculum. Apparently, like counting change, Shakespeare is not needed and therefore is not getting taught anymore... And really, just like those "rivers in the Soviet Union" that we memorized because one day we thought we might be fighting our way across them... the reality of today's world has said about our out-dated platitudes.. "don't worry about it"...

So that brings up Bill's admonition that a "stay-at-home" housewife was not an expert on education." You just gave away you are not a parent. Any and every parent who cares one tiny bit knows that is not true. Every parent IS the ultimate expert on education, far more than our governor Jack Markell, the education governor, could ever be. They know on the front lines, if their child is either "getting it" or not "getting it"... Parents are indeed the "only" experts on education. The teachers would be the second layer but even they can be misdirected by those paying their paychecks...

Again there is no greater expert on education than the parent. So what about those doctorate degrees in education? Are they now worthless? No. Not worthless. They provide insight, they keep history from dying out. But common sense tells us if you study the past, you may be an expert on the past, but that does not necessarily translate into being well-equipped for either the present or the future.

Experts have their place, but they are really nothing more than the equivalent of talking heads on Fox News telling us what is going on the ground in Afghanistan. One gets an entirely different picture by talking to a soldier actually on the ground in Afghanistan.

This common core curriculum and it's backing by "experts" certainly proves that. Especially when the real "experts", parents, disagree....

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 9:03am
Mike you did it again... Perhaps if I diagram it your thought process is more clear....

A) Wife's coworkers could not read simple forms.

+B) I once gave a cashier instructions how to handle change.

+C) Many companies now require diplomas for menial jobs.


There is a problem which the public schools seem uninterested in addressing, much less fixing. The only thing they want from the public is tax dollars.

PS. Can you provide documentation those college degrees being required for running a register on a fast food line, or cleaning offices overnight? Or any menial job that does not require advanced knowledge, now requiring a college

Also how sure are you that the person on register was a high school graduate?

And were how do you know whether your wife's co-workers couldn't read, or.. didn't want to read. They could be quite smart, figuring out that if they convinced her they couldn't read, she would carry more of the share of their work... Having someone carry more of the share of work is not dumb, that's smart. That's how Bill Gates retired early...

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 6, 2013 10:43am
Kavips: You must be a unionized teacher or school employee. You defend the schools just a bit too vigorously. Even McDonald's requires a high school diploma for their adult employees [those past school age have for many years]. Granted maybe Ponderosa didn't, but I doubt it.

If you don't believe my statement, so be it, I don't care. I'm simply reporting what we've experienced. If that attitude of doing as least work as possible is considered smart, then the younger generation [especially those in retail] should be considered to be very smart since they certainly have that down quite well [many act like they're doing you the favor by ringing up your stuff as you're interrupting their phone conversation - yeah, I've experienced this many times, but I know you won't believe me since I can't document it].

That I-don't-give-a-darn attitude [I'm entitled to that paycheck because I graced your store by showing up today] that the younger folks put on while at work is one reason employers may also be requiring a college degree for the lesser jobs that technically don't require college to do the work. Maybe they figure if a kid has a student loan to pay off, then that young person will have less of that I-don't-give-a-darn attitude, because he/she will actually really need that money and the job. I can't prove that; it's just speculation.

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 10:54am
Kavips: Too many parents are not even experts at parenting. By your logic, a restaurant critic is able to be a chef. He knows food, so he is better able to prepare it than actual chefs. Roger Ebert knew movies and wrote about them well. He wrote a couple, which were terrible.

Schools would work a lot better if administrators, business, and most of all, parents kept their noses out of the classroom and let teachers do their jobs. Parenting and teaching are two different things and parents need to give their children the benefit of experiencing early on a world without mommie and daddy trying always to fix things for them.

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 11:48am
Mike you seem to miss my point. No one is arguing that those things didn't happen. They are pointing out that judging the entire educational system as being no good, because of three things that happened to you, and therefore ignoring all other data that doesn't fall in line with those three things that happened to you, is very faulty. It is like those knuckleheads who denied manmade global warming could be occurring by dismissing the average world temperature climbing every year, because they got snow on their ground in March that year... Now, as the effects ravage our nation rather severely, we are paying for that silly line of reasoning of ignoring the facts, because of anecdotes...


There is research that shows children are smarter than you by far. At least those little children would understand that one wouldn't have to be a school official or union thug because they care that Shakespeare is no longer taught in Literature class, but putting together a ceiling fan is... Also just put them and you side by side on computers if you doubt my word. Or try having a race with one using a new phone app... lol.

But back to education, based on the same standard, real test scores have risen regularly since 1979... That is fact. It may not match that girl in Ponderosa, but there is a word for that. "exception". lol.

Bill. Your restaurant critic mixes metaphors. Of course a restaurant critic would lack the manual dexterity required to perform a chef's duties. He hasn't had the practice. One was not saying that parents should run schools. They wouldn't know the first government reporting deadline until it hit them in the face. They do know, which you seem to totally ignore in your reply, whether their child is learning or is not. Does that apply to a parent who spends her night in a alcoholic coma? No, so it won't apply to all parents. But all parents who are in tune with their kids, know when their child is "getting" or not "getting it." Everyone who has been a parent and experienced that, knows what I'm talking about. Anyone who hasn't, really can't speak, for they haven't the knowledge required to make a balanced judgment.

Schools would indeed work better if those who have no idea of how to teach would stay out of education. That is the entire philosophy for kicking out the corporate for profit entities who have created the mess our system is in now....

Not the parents. We actually need more concerned parents who, because they love their children, find themselves more on the side of teachers and administrators in trying forestall the terrible dumbing down our corporate educational gurus are causing...

.... and Mike, again... what you call "That I-don't-give-a-darn attitude [I'm entitled to that paycheck because I graced your business by showing up today]"... is a trait that is not just limited to teenagers. It is the majority opinion in the adult world as well.

Once again... it's those platitudes...

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 1:26pm
Kavips: Most parents are not "in tune" with their children. And being ignorant themselves, how can they know that a child is learning? The only thing most parents do is create an active market for future psychotherapy. Deep down, the last thing most parents want is for their kid to be smarter than them.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 6, 2013 1:41pm
Kavips: That attitude is generally seen by not just me, but others with teens and those in their 20's. Once they hit 30 they seem to settle down, are getting married, having children, have responsibilities so it doesn't happen in such a large number as it does with the teen-29 age set. Call it a platitude if you must, but it is what it is.

I grant you that today's kids can use electronic stuff better than I and probably most of my generation [those are simply generational skills that an earlier generation didn't have access to when they were at that same age]. However, those same kids can't use a slide rule or do math in their head, and from what I've read have a lot of difficulty in doing word problems [as they also have poor reading skills]. Yes there are exceptions to everything. Just because the kids can use electronic toys better than us doesn't make them smarter.

This statement, Kavips, seems to imply that I do not care that Shakespeare is no longer taught: "There is research that shows children are smarter than you by far. At least those little children would understand that one wouldn't have to be a school official or union thug because they care that Shakespeare is no longer taught in Literature class, but putting together a ceiling fan is..."

You've made a seriously incorrect assumption. That's part of what I'm complaining about when I say the kids can't read their diploma. Do they actually read any classics in school anymore? Harry Potter is NOT a classic. Sure they need to read Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Twain, and many others, I'm in total agreement with that.

My point has been [apparently not very well articulated] I don't believe the schools are requiring the kids to do enough of that, along with writing, math, science, and yes history, etc.

You say that parents do need to be involved, but as I posed quite some time ago on a different thread here, that you can't help your child IF the school uses a different concept or approach to teaching it than you received when you were in school. The example I gave was I learned to read via Phonics, my kids learned via Whole Language. They are NOT similar approaches. The schools don't offer any tutiorial to assist the parents so they can assist their kids at home, yet they they'll complain that the parents aren't helping their kids [you can't have it both ways]. Either offer parents some tools so they can help, or stop bashing parents. No one ever wants to discuss that in the schools districts either. Call that a platitude if you must, but it doesn't change the facts.

Most parents want their kids to do well and are willing to help their kids with something they are having a hard time understanding, etc, but as these so called "education experts" change their methods with each generation, its not reasonable to expect the older generation to be able to help without some tutorial assistance. I tried to get that sort of help many times and even to pay for the printing and the paper, but was told, sorry we can't do that. Of course since I've not gone and done a survey to find out how many other parents would have liked having a tutioral you'll simply say that's just me and no one else had a problem, just another platitude from some ignorant old guy, because the school system is perfect and the product they produce is the best in the world. Seems there are plenty of tests showing we're down below many third world nations in that, but I don't have proof available to prove that either, so I guess that too is just an other platitude.

So that's fine, you believe what you want to believe and I'll believe what I want to believe. So we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 6, 2013 11:48pm
I listened to Allan's interview with Dorothy Linn, Colonial's Superintendent [caught the podcast naturally managed to miss the on air interview]. Good interview, thanks for the podcast.

Only real critique is she didn't answer the second part of your question, addressing performance [the first part was about cutting administrators]. She said she could address both issues and didn't address the performance part. She did mention that the district did cut 3 administrators [why they don't publicize that when announcing the teaching and program cuts doesn't make sense]. The WDEL.com story announcing the upcoming referendum didn't list any administrators only teachers, etc, so I'm assuming that Colonial didn't tell WDEL about those cuts].

She mentioned a salary freeze on administrative salaries [so is that correct or was she just saying it]. From what she said, Colonial's administrative salaries have been higher than most other Delaware districts [she implied they were higher from the George Meany years], so they've frozen those salaries until the other districts catch up [at least that's what was implied by what she said].

She did mention that Colonial is revamping its high school offerings to help not lose students to Charter Schools. She didn't go into specifics, but apparently it's on Colonial's radar that they lose students to the Charters and Vo-Tech and she hopes to cut back on that loss.

Shame the interview wasn't longer as she was responsive to Allan's questions [other than the performance question] and could go deeper, but with a 2-minute interview, you only scratch the surface.

Shame she didn't do that interview PRIOR to the referendum and also answered that performance question.

Communications with residents who don't have kids in that district are pretty lousy. Why not have an open meeting at the high school auditorium where she fields questions from the public? The non-child families are the ones they need to reach and convince that the district is indeed doing a good job and being good stewards of the tax dollars they get [they don't really make much of an effort to do that]. If they did, then maybe they'd have won the first referendum or at least the second one might have won by a bigger margin than just 67 votes.

Notice they didn't say how many votes total, just that they won by 67. Chances are fewer folks voted this time and as the seniors at William Penn get to vote and probably their teachers "encourage" them to go vote during even possibly allowing them to leave their class to go vote. If some residents stayed home this time, the yes votes that would easily come from students possibly gave them that victory. Sadly that's all they really care about and why so many non-student families tend to vote NO. Public relations is pretty poor for the general public who don't have kids in their schools.

One suggestion Allan. I realize the traffic/weather/spot breaks on the 9's and that's a hard break, but you could have held her over to continue after that break. It seemed like you could have gone deeper and wanted to, but ran out of time. A 2 minute interview sometimes just isn't enough time, especially on an important local issue like this. Actually that happens on quite a few of your interviews, you're getting a good discussion going and you have to cut them off for the on the 9's break. So maybe getting them to hold on to finish up after the break might add additional depth, just a thought.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:41am
kavips: You are right about the parent part. The acceptance of personal responsibility is at an all-time low, but again, the left seems to encourage that.

Allan Loudell
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 5:42am

Sure, I always have questions I wish I would've asked.

Incidentally, at Noon I don't have the "hard" breaks for traffic that I have during P.M. drive, but remember, it's a simulcast, so I have other hard breaks when both stations go to different commercials; different weather; etc.

I also had another interview scheduled for that segment. Why? Remember, at Noon, it's a statewide simulcast so I try not to stay too long with an interview mainly of interest to people in New Castle County. (That's also why I posed some broader philosophical questions.)

Secondly, if the interview falls through, I need at least one other interview to sustain the segment. Unlike a talk-show host, I can't just start pontificating on some subject. Furthermore, with the simulcast, I can't move commercials up to fill the time while we try to reach someone else. Prior to the simulcast, I had that option in an emergency.

During P.M. drive, I sometimes DO carry an interview past the :09 or :39 traffic and weather segment; but I have to evaluate the commercial load. If it's at capacity (often), it may not be worth it to carry-over the interview for just another minute or minute-and-a-half, especially when I have to re-introduce the guest and subject matter for listeners who've just tuned in.

By the way, despite the considerations noted above, the interview with Dr. Linn did run 8 minutes!

Allan Loudell

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 8:11am
MikeFromDelaware: The real problem is Allan Loudell's obsession with LIVE-LIVE-LIVE interviews. In fairness, the same thing happens with Steve Inskeep who asks complicated and convoluted questions and then tells the guest he only has a few seconds to answer before cutting him off. Record the interview and edit it.
Interviewers who prepare in advance and really listen do not end up having questions they wish they would have asked.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 8:45am
Billsmith: hadn't thought about it that way, but I believe a lot of the interviews on NPR are pre-recorded before airing.

Makes sense. When I was doing a story and interviewing someone for that story, I'd record them and then later back at the station would then cherrypick the best stuff to fit into that no more than 40 seconds time we had for the sound in a story. So Allan could do that too. That way he can edit out some of the hemming and hauling a person might do or the not responsive comments than say nothing, etc, which does eat up a ton of time.

The interview was interesting and I thought it was only a couple of minutes, but apparently 8 minutes, which is a good length of time. But yes - if recorded and edited - even more stuff would be able to be included. There may be logistical issues for Allan, such as no studio [production room] time available to do this editing before he goes on the air. But I agree that would be the way to step up the final on air product.

Allan Loudell
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 9:46am
I do interviews LIVE for the following reasons:

With 12---16 interviews, each day... no time to produce and edit (although occasionally, an interview which aired live will be condensed for the "Loudell Report", which airs at about 5:55 and 7:55 a.m., and is also offered as a podcast.)

Many are about changing stories; live allows us to integrate the latest developments. Constantly changing times depending on the changing availability of the interviewees.

Interview-lengths change, particularly at Noon, depending on whether another interview crashes, or whether we've got a last-minute addition.

Lack of studio availibility.

I do as much prep as possible, going to dozens of websites each morning, also duplicating the material and distributing it to our talk-show hosts. That's in part responsible for my typically 14-hour days. Remember: I have two airshifts; a recorded report in the morning; a live join in the morning; the aforementioned 12---16 interviews; sometimes asked to anchor additional newscasts between 1--4 p.m.; outside public appearances, as has been the case the last two nights; plus posting at least one new blog each weekday, responding to this blog, and even correcting this blog. Plus responding to e-mails, and all the rest.

Let's take today as an example. Alarm clock gets me up at 3:45 a.m. Got in around 5 a.m. Had to do a "Loudell Report". Checked out 40---50 websites and printed out material. It's 7:30 a.m.: The "Open Friday / Weekend Forum" takes longer to prepare. It's now just before 10 a.m., and I have YET to schedule my first interview for the Noon hour. (I might have scheduled some last night, but I was doing the Greek Festival until past 8 p.m.) Just GETTING the interviews in two hours will be a tall task, let alone having time to record them! Unlike NPR, I don't have a producer. (Talking to an affiliate relations manager for a nationally-syndicated talk-show a few months back, she couldn't believe I do what I do by myself!)

Now, at 10 a.m., just found out I'll have to do some or all newscasts between 1--4 p.m., further cutting prep time... and I'm already running late because it's Friday!

Although, once in a while - as now - I'll get a great intern who can assist typically several hours three days a week!

Two weeks ago, I logged an 80+ hour week.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 10:20am
Allan, your days are rather busy to say the least. So pre-rerecorded interviews wouldn't work for a number of reasons. I'll bet you're dog tired when you get home at night, you put in quite a day.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 11:27am
Allan Loudell; I see what you are saying, Allan, and I can't say I disagree with your point on academic encouragement thru sports. I also appreciate the development of mind and body. And I don't think dropping sports all together is a good idea. My point is it seems that no attempts were made by the school district to work within its budget and make required cuts. Their first response was to ask for more money. That is Mis-Management. Hard choices! People can only give so much. The property tax pool is getting smaller. People are losing their homes. Wages and hours are being cut or lost all together. You know as well as I do, Allan, the economic recovery is not a real recovery. Stocks go up, companies do better, yet job growth is not keeping up with Wall Street.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 12:56pm
bmak. Just as soon as Republicans are out of power, the wages and hours to the Ameican middle-class begin to rise. There are two philosophies on how to run America. One philosophy relies on its citizens, all of them, to work hard get a decent day's pay, to stay ahead of their bills, and have a little left to save up for the future. This side believes that if all prosper, then the nation as a whole will prosper. It is this philosophy that prevailed from 1940 to 2000....

The other side vehemently disagrees. This side thinks America needs to be run from the top down. They think that if the gigantic investment institution is in control, that all will benefit. They believe they know best, that they know how money works, and that the middle-class interference will spoil their attempts to fix the country to better them. For they believe that when they do better, when they get even richer, the nation as a whole does better... This philosophy began in 1994 with the Gingrich-led revolt, and is still in place today because of a recalcitrant Republican House of Representatives....

bmak. It sounds like you too believe the middle-class should be the economic engine that runs the nation, not the investment houses. That can and will only change as soon as the Republicans have too few numbers to be able to interfere.... Republicans may be nice people, there are some here even, they could be your neighbors, but their philosophy has knocked America on its back and their heel is on America's throat.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 1:25pm
I'm not making myself clear and that is my fault. You are all talking about this like your sitting on a Mountaintop dispensing 'The secret of Life' Wisdom. I'm talking about a family of 4 who went from $80,000 a year to working part time, 3 days a week at Toys R Us. I am sorry if I offend anyone but imagine how offensive your detached comments are to a Service Member returning home to find his family living in a Motel. And yes these are real people I refer to, and as I cannot swear to the validity of their stories, I can attest to hearing it from them face-to-face in a situation that would give them no benefit to lie. You all make valid points on the post I've read, but you are cheating each other by the way you deliver your message. Does a conversation consist of proving each other wrong or listening to what everyone has to say? Free Speech may be our greatest asset, but people need to Hear you not Fear you.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 1:35pm
..and just pointing out platitudes, this time from Bill S.

A.) Most parents are not "in tune" with their children.... Ok. where is your data. This is so far out that it is impossible to believe that out of the population of 315 million, 75 million of which are children, meaning there should at least be somewhere between 75 and 150 million parents, that "most" or over 50% are not in tune with their children! They don't know what school their child goes to, they don't know what bus number their child rides. they wouldn't miss their child for months if he disappeared. they don't know what their child wants to be when they grow up, they don't know if their child wants ros should go to college, they don't know their child's teachers name, they don't communicate in the planner every day in response to the teachers queries... BillS.. you fell off the deep end on this one... Obvious for the world, you have no idea of what child rearing is all about...

B.) "And being ignorant themselves, how can they know that a child is learning?"... Ignorant of what? As of today there are 155.7 million people employed in this country. You just made a statement they are all ignorant? Obviously, they seem well enough knowledgeable to do their jobs. Obviously they seem knowledgeable to navigate through life's hoops and benches. Obviously they seem knowledgeable enough to eradicate Republicans from office, one by one, especially here in Delaware. Since you did not carve out an exception for yourself, are you too saying you are classified as ignorant? I'm sure you will find backers for that hypothesis on this thread. :) You just made a grand sweeping statement with no backing that all (including you) adults are ignorant... How do you expect to be taken seriously? Where's the citation (hint, it is not on google)?.

C) The only thing most parents do is create an active market for future psychotherapy... Really. That is the only thing they do? Parents don't work to pay the bills. Parents don't work to keep a marriage together. Parents don't read to keep up on their world. Parents don't do things to raise their children. Parents don't read to them. Parents don't take them out for exercise. Parents don't explain things to them. Parents don't visit their child's schools. Parents don't communicate with their child's teachers. Parents only do what you are saying, they purposefully try to mess up their kids? Where is your source that proves that is what parents "try" to do, give psychiatrists future employment? According to the AMA Psychiatry is the fourth largest specialty in the United States. Since 1970, psychiatry has grown 86.7%, while child psychiatry has grown 194.6%. But over that same course of time, the US population itself has increased by 55%. But as the AMA points out, these psychiatrists are spread out over the geography of the US, and have cut back hours, so the demand is not growing as fast as did the number of offices opened... But anyways for your correlation to be true, the majority of kids in high school, in our colleges and universities who are succeeding in greater numbers than ever before, all need psychiatric help because Bill S says so. The tick that bit Mike of Delaware seems to have bitten you too...

D) "The last thing most parents want is for their kid to be smarter than them. .." Obviously, you have never heard of any parent wanting their child to go into medicine and become a doctor...

BillS... What planet do you beam your transmissions from? lol.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:15pm
bmak said: "I'm not making myself clear and that is my fault. You are all talking about this like your sitting on a Mountain top dispencing 'The secret of Life' Wisdom. I'm talking about a family of 4 who went from $80,000 a year to working part time, 3 days a week at Toys R Us. I am sorry if I offend anyone but imagine how offensive your detached comments are to a Service Member returning home to find his family living in a Motel. And yes these are real people I refer to, and as I can not swear to the validity of their stories I can attest to hearing it from them face to face in a situation that would give them no benefit to lie. You all make valid points on the post I've read, but you are cheating each other by the way you deliver your message. Does a conversation consist of proving each other wrong or listening to what everyone has to say? Free Speech may be our greatest asset, but people need to Hear you not Fear you."

Bmak, Amen, I agree. These issues are not "intellectual issues" in a college debating club, they're real and real people are affected. All too often that can get lost in the shuffle, not just here in our discussions, but unfortunately and worse, in Washington.

Thanks for the reminder.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 3:21pm
Bmak: Another thought also just popped into my head that I know I need to remember, and maybe it applies to others, can't say, but certainly for me: Oh, but for the grace of God go I. My guess is most of us here, with some slight change in our circumstances, could easily find ourselves in similar situations as the folks you mentioned. Again, thanks for reminding us that there are real people out there, in the US and in Delaware that are hurting who aren't lazy "welfare bums", but folks who played by the rules and who worked hard, but still ended up in a bad situation.

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 6:12pm
After reading my own comment I realized I gave the impression that I was referring to all of you, that was not my intent and I regret making that mistake. Thank you for giving my post your consideration.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 7, 2013 6:40pm
I believe at some point here any of us probably have become a bit over zealous in trying to make our points. I know I have. So you just reminded us of that, which isn't a bad thing.

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