Friday, May 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday’s letters: Hillsborough school making strong progress

Hillsborough school district in financial, leadership crisis | Nov. 5, editorial

School district’s achievements

While I respect the Times’ editors and acknowledge our district is facing financial challenges (facing them head-on, in fact), I feel it’s vital to share facts with the public that show our 25,000 dedicated employees are not letting anything sidetrack them from achieving success with our students.

Working with our School Board, we set a bold strategic goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 — and we are on track, after producing gains for two straight years (last year’s rate of 79.1 percent is up 3 percent from the year before).

Students earned a district-record 5,411 industry certifications to launch high-demand careers, and families saved $15 million on college by taking Dual Enrollment and AP classes last year (up 33 percent from the prior year).

More upward movement: 1,060 more elementary school students are proficient in reading over last year; ninth graders on track to graduate — a key graduation indicator — are up 3 percent; and we are creating fiscal stability by bringing district spending in line with revenues for the first time in several years.

Our district has its fewest "F" schools in five years. We have three this year, down from 18 in 2014-15.

Our students are making these important achievements despite our district operating in a cost-saving deficit mode for two years now. And we continue to plan for the future, launching several new efforts in early childhood learning, to make sure more of our students are kindergarten-ready.

I, along with our School Board, feel it’s important for our community to know that while we may deal with a challenge or setback, our educators won’t take their eyes off our shared vision: preparing students for life.

Jeff Eakins, superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa

Tax reform should strengthen families
Nov. 7, commentary

Corporate giveaways

Sen. Marco Rubio seems to be seeking a niche in which to hide, commenting on the impending tax bill’s impact on child-rearing and bolstering families. What Rubio fails to acknowledge is that the biggest danger to children in America’s future is the rising inequality in income and wealth, which the proposed bill will enhance, not diminish.

If Rubio is seriously concerned about the future of our children, he should be speaking against one of the biggest giveaways to corporations and wealthy individuals since the Reagan era. As recent revelations about offshore accounts have revealed, America’s biggest industries and richest citizens are not using their money to create jobs, expand the economy, or benefit the bulk of America’s citizens: They are greedily hoarding it, evading taxes, and holding out their hands for more.

I would like our senator to talk a bit about that.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Bill not in patients’ best interests | Nov. 9, letter

Bill ends ineffective system

Patients want their doctor to focus on them rather than a computer screen, to put patient interests first, and not comply with insurance company cookbooks or rationing of care. That is why they should support Florida bills HB 81/SB 628 to bring some sanity back to medicine. The bill would stop the ineffective and corrupt system of maintenance of certification, or MOC, for board-certified doctors.

Until about 15 years ago, board-certified doctors passed their exam and then did continuous medical education in their state and as part of their medical society. However, about 24 medical boards, working under the American Board of Medical Specialties, have created a billion-dollar industry to force doctors to do MOC. For instance, Dr. Rebecca Johnson makes over $500,000 annually as the CEO of the American Board of Pathologists. Science published in the Journal of the American Medical Association proves that patient care does not improve when doctors do MOC.

The board of specialties oversees the onerous MOC process. This involves requiring doctors to waste time on pointless tests, excessive continuing medical education that enriches medical societies, and participation in "best practices" programs that are really about rationing care. MOC is like asking a lawyer to pass the bar exam every few years.

The board of specialties makes tens of millions annually and recently was discovered to have massive accounts in the Caymans and a luxury condo in Philadelphia (with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes limo for their staff)! Meanwhile, doctors spend time away from patient care, spend tens of thousands on pointless MOC and have to close their practices to be employed by massive corporations.

Patients should support HB 81/SB 628 to stop mandatory MOC so they can keep doctors in practice and keep their doctor focused on them instead of cookbook medicine and rationing.

David McKalip, M.D., St. Petersburg

The writer is president of the Florida Chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

FSU bans Greek activity after pledge’s death
Nov. 7

Don’t punish everyone

FSU president John Thrasher called for "a new normal for Greek life at the university" and suspended all fraternities and sororities indefinitely following the death of a fraternity pledge at Pi Kappa Phi and the drug arrest of another student from Phi Delta Theta.

Why not just indefinitely suspend Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Delta Theta, pending a review of the facts? The other fraternities and sororities should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Whatever happened to due process?

Doug Haskitt, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Updated: 6 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18