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[Susan notes: I'm the colleague Steve mentioned. Dad's last job on his break from high school to support his family was as a grave digger. He was so reliable they offered him the job of cemetery superintendent. "I could have worn a suit," he said. This was during the Depression and a suit-wearing job was a big deal. Then he added, "But I went back for the diploma. I couldn't quit on the high school education."

He was grateful that the teachers always welcomed him back, never making him feel like a failure because it took him seven years to complete high school. I figured that was why he served on the local school board for twenty-five years and spoke out for teacher raises.]

Submitted to Atlanta Journal Constitution but not published

To the editor

Like Peter Smagorinsky ( Opinion: Issue isn̢۪t welding vs. Chaucer. Its how to remove barriers to college, Feb. 9). I also "admire people who persist through obstacles." As Smagorinksy points out, many of those who take longer than the traditional time period to finish high school, community college, or a "four-year" college need to work to support themselves and their families.

We must allow working students to take a reduced course load and and occasional leaves of absence. During the depression, the father of a colleague of mine alternated working a year and going to high school a year, because his family needed the money. Another colleague told me that she and her dad graduated high school at the same time. These are not cases of failure but of heroism.

Stephen Krashen

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