Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: New standards deserve a fair hearing

Those Florida critics of the Common Core curriculum who hoped the standards would be substantially rewritten are sure to be disappointed. Instead of a major overhaul, the state education commissioner's proposed changes represent modest tweaks that are reasonable and preserve the integrity of the standards. The proposal deserves a fair hearing next month before the state Board of Education. It would be even more helpful if Gov. Rick Scott firmly embraced the standards and stopped inaccurately suggesting that Common Core is a plot by the federal government to take over public schools.

Created in a bipartisan effort led by states, Common Core has never been about federal intrusion. State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart's revised plan — now called Florida Standards — underscores that point. The 98 proposed changes call for additional standards such as mastering cursive writing in elementary school, learning to count money in first grade and telling time on an analog clock. Fifty-two of the changes deal with adding calculus standards already in place in Florida's Sunshine State Standards. These are pedagogical devices, not political weapons.

The state Board of Education should thoroughly vet the proposed changes and work with Stewart to move forward. Scott should put the needs and interests of students and educators at the forefront rather than making the education standards a red-meat applause line at political rallies. He must convince all involved that the state's greatest responsibility is to its students and that an academically challenging, nationally measurable set of standards is in their best interests. Implementation of the new education standards and the creation of related assessments remains a challenge, and educators need to slow down and get it right. The Legislature can help by resetting deadlines and so can Scott, who should show the way forward rather than fanning the fears of critics who would push Florida backward.

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Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17