Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Editorials

Sunday’s letters: What we need to do to improve schools

main, top-news, tbo-op

Calls for action after a violent school year | May 6

Don’t let a school slip, slide away

The reporter’s description of the current situation at Wharton High School is eerily similar to events that have occurred at Chamberlain High in recent years. As a parent of students who attended Chamberlain from 2003 to 2016, I can attest to the conditions the Hillsborough School District allowed, resulting in a poor learning environment for all students. The district ignored for years all indications that conditions were deteriorating — from student test scores to input from parents. Officials went so far as to gut many specialties and classes such as the Chamberlain Advanced Placement Scholars Program. The dedication of the teachers and staff at the school could not overcome the actions of the district. Many Chamberlain families in the surrounding communities have fled to other educational opportunities through special assignment, private schools or school choice.

Changing school boundaries would indeed resolve the issue for many of the more influential families of students attending Wharton but will do little for those who are without a voice to make their needs heard. These students will just be shuttled to another school without understanding their requirements. The district must rethink its traditional methods for engaging families from surrounding communities to support lifelong learning.

The district must start early at the grassroots level — in the neighborhoods, local churches and recreation centers — to encourage and support the dedication it takes to promote learning. Success in school should never be dependent upon ZIP codes.

Jeanine Parrish, Tampa

Calls for action ... | May 6

What needs to be fixed

As one of the remaining 11 original faculty/staff members at Wharton High School, I want to add key points to this article. First, in reference to honors classes, even students who score the lowest level on state assessments or who fail a course may choose honors at Wharton. In addition, the current Wharton administration made a decision last summer to convert all ninth-grade English courses into honors without input from teachers or parents. Are there no regular-level learners in ninth grade?

Second, Wharton is near 100 percent enrollment capacity. We need relief on our very crowded campus, and we need it now. Waiting for boundaries for a new school on the opposite end of the county is not a viable option. The School Board can and should make that decision sooner than later.

Merrill Connor, Wesley Chapel

Scott sinks to new low
in cronyism | May 11, editorial

You can’t make this up

Looks like Gov. Rick Scott has officially crossed the line and joined President Donald Trump in the "Hey, you really can’t make this stuff up" club. His latest escapade with the Department of Revenue reads more like a MAD Magazine satire.

David Lubin, Tampa

The lost ideal that
was America | May 5, letter

We’ve survived worse

I am not of John McCain’s political persuasion either, but this letter, which quoted McCain’s new book was moving to me, also. It led me to my edition of Carl Sandburg’s poems The People Yes: "The learning and blundering people will live on." ... "The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback." ... "There are men who can’t be bought. The fireborn are at home in fire. The stars make no noise. You can’t hinder the wind from blowing. Time is the great teacher. Who can live without hope?"

The present political situation has blinded me from the education that I have. I forgot that others have endured seemingly impossible situations and, yet, America has survived and thrived. There have been and there still are great Americans you can’t buy.

There are men of steel like John McCain in the U.S. Senate. Who would have expected a tall and skinny rail splitter from Illinois to, against all odds, save the Union? Sandburg’s hopeful poetry comes from his knowledge and love of Lincoln.

So, I guess I better look at present-day American politics with the eye and perspective of someone who knows and loves America and its citizens. America has survived revolution, secession, terrible leaders. We will survive Trump.

Robert Clifford, Tarpon Springs

Remember the student who
was shot at FSU? | May 6

The pursuit of happiness

I experienced rage with the ease with which one can obtain a weapon in the United States. Ronny Ahmed, a student in biomedical engineering, planned for a bright future. The day he was shot changed his life forever, and now he is paralyzed from the waist down. For all those who tout the constitutional right to bear arms, I ask what about the right to pursue happiness outlined in the Declaration of Independence? Let’s not forget this tragedy and let’s work toward a sensible compromise on the Second Amendment. Let’s fight for our dream of a more peaceful society and stand up for innocents who pay too dearly because of the easy access to guns.

Irene Prosser, Tarpon Springs

A narrow path forward | April 29, Perspective

Leading the way

Boots on the ground! Many thanks to Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Carlton Ward Jr. and Joseph Guthrie for their exploration of the imperiled stretch of the Florida Wildlife Corridor near Interstate 4. If not for them, who would do this important survey? I hope that this team’s work makes a difference and helps to protect the critical wildlife corridor. Reading their article, I felt so very grateful to them.

Geri Doherty, Clearwater

Just give him the prize | May 11, letter

What wins a Nobel

Here’s a news update: There is no Nobel Prize in literature for tweets. And there’s no Nobel for war, only for peace.

Jeanine K. Peters, Largo

Comments
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18