Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers


Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14

Stop laying blame on teachers

I am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. She was a teacher in Hillsborough County in 1968 when the teachers walked out over the derision and disgust of parent-teacher organizations and others who called them disloyal, commies, and pushed hard for their dismissal. As this is not a union-friendly state, these teachers were putting a lot at stake, and many in the community said they didnít care because they werenít in their classrooms. The claim was this could be better resolved if they would just get back in their classrooms and then we could all sit down nicely, calmly, and work things out.

No. That is what brought them to that place, and it is what has brought us, now, to this place. When you indicate to somebody that you are endlessly willing to sit and listen, wait, be patient, and have your good intentions manipulated for anotherís delays and advantage, there is no motivation to speed the process, to make it a priority and resolve it.

We, the teachers, just keep slogging and keep having expectations piled on even as weíre being told how understanding everyone is. This year started with a big rah-rah, letís all pull together, weíre going to make it work and itís going to be a more positive, supportive environment instead of the demoralizing, demeaning, exhausting environment it has been with the evaluation system in all its unwieldy and (as yet) unproven glory.

Thatís not what happened. If anything, the operating environment is a hyped, intensified crisis mode that still has endless piled-on trainings that no one is ever given time to "unpack" and utilize, meetings, collaborations and conferences. The general atmosphere is: "Weíre all stretched and stressed, so get over it. Oh, and by the way, Iíll be in next week to evaluate you."

If we all act like good little soldiers who are asked to and continue to march on, keep our heads down, work harder, and donít rock the boat (the teacher guilt gambit, I call it), we will continue to march on, keep our heads down, work harder, and the boat will keep on sailing without a course that includes the real consequences on the real people who deliver to our children.

Please donít keep guilting the teachers and laying it at our doorstep that we need to "think in the best interests of the students" in this current crisis. We didnít create the crisis, we have not been beneficiaries of it, nor have our students, and we are thinking of the students by opening up a public dialogue that includes the concerns of students and parents. My exhortation is that this should be turned into a large-scale moment to create public collaborations and use the crisis mode in a different way, but please donít keep putting this on the teachers to make it all okay.

Lucretia Dovi, Tampa

Legislature should ban sanctuary cities
Nov. 14, commentary

Pandering proposition

I wonder if Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran has even a basic understanding of local law enforcement. Does he know that local law enforcement officers do not have lawful authority to enforce federal laws? Does he have any idea how busy local officers are handling everyday domestic disturbances, traffic accidents, investigating crimes and attending court? Does he not understand that if federal ICE agents present valid warrants to county sheriffs, the sheriffs will gladly hold a suspect?

All of us in local law enforcement (I was police officer, detective and supervisor in a large metropolitan area for over 30 years) must comply with the civil rights laws and have no desire to be taken to civil court for violations of civil rights. Florida would be better served if Corcoran would stop pandering to his supporters and do his job.

Paul Carroll, Homosassa

What about the guns?

Richard Corcoran is on a noble mission. His message is that if we eliminate sanctuary cities, with all those dangerous illegal aliens, violent crimes will go down. Thatís debatable, but thereís more to the story. Did the NRA help write this to distract from the bigger issue? After all, the woman was "gunned down." Why doesnít Corcoran take our protections a step further and work to enact stricter gun controls?

M. Gerald Lang, Seminole

Ybor City won starter spot | Nov. 11

This will never work

It astonishes me that there is even a consideration for a new stadium for the Rays given the circumstances: no large fan base, years of dismal attendance, and a losing team for the last 10 years.

Now letís add a stadium where there will be limited parking in a city that has virtually no public transportation system.

The politicians and planners are truly living in a Field of Dreams, but no oneís going to come. Better off to let the club move to an out-of-state city where the team will feel wanted.

Bob Rosenberger, Spring Hill

Florida Legislature

Theyíre not listening

For whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesnít appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on Nov. 3 to talk to the Hillsborough County legislative delegation for three minutes about commonsense gun laws. My senator never once looked at me during that three minutes.

On Nov. 8, about 30 people took a bus 240 miles to Tallahassee to meet with our legislators for the same purpose. My state senatorís aide informed us that our senator would not be available to meet with us until March.

Surveys show that the majority of Floridians want criminal background checks. My senator doesnít. Polls show the majority of Floridians do not want open carry. My senator does. University officials, campus security and professors oppose campus carry.

Are our legislators supposed to represent us? Are our legislators supposed to be responsive to the taxpayers? How do we get our voices heard before the next legislative session and not in March?

Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa