Re: Taxpayers pick up AP tab story, Oct. 31
AP success rate is worth the cost
According to your own statistics, the number of students passing the Advanced Placement exams statewide rose by 72 percent over the past five years. The budgets in Pinellas and Hillsborough for these exams rose by 67 percent and 83 percent, respectively. I think the St. Petersburg Times would be hard-pressed to find any recent educational initiative with such a good success rate.
Since when do we apply the green eyeshade to education policy? The metric of faster graduation rates in college is especially misleading. It turns education into something to get and be done with. Education is a life-long process, not a race to the finish line.
Is there no value to society of having a better educated population? Is there no value to parents for whom the AP confirms what their child did or did not learn, notwithstanding their letter grade in class? Is there no value to the extra work that these students put in for the betterment of themselves and their schools?
Few public goods would stand the test of a purely financial cost-benefit analysis, which is why the public provides them. The Times has identified a successful program that promotes high achievement and wonders if it is a good use of taxpayer money. No wonder our educational system lags the rest of the world.
Eric Burns, Palm Harbor
Re: Schools back off uniform plans | story, Nov. 2
Board caved in on school uniforms
As usual, the Pinellas County School Board showed that it is lacking in backbone. There was no huge hue and cry to go away from the idea of school uniforms (khaki or blue shorts, white or blue collared shirts and khaki or blue skirts/skorts).
A few parents persuaded some board members — Linda Lerner and Carol Cook — that it stifles individuality and is costly. Research has shown that appropriate dress sets the tone for learning. Maybe School Board members need to visit schools unannounced to see what students are wearing. But then they would be appalled by the behavior, which is another issue.
Peter Serbanos, Clearwater
RCS volunteers help the needy
When I attended the recent Religious Community Services luncheon at Holy Trinity Greek Church Hall, I was amazed to hear the different stories and also how RCS volunteers work to raise money to help those in need. I've only helped with food donations through our church, so I did not know any details about their other projects.
It is amazing how many people in our community need help and most of us never hear about it. However, I was also amazed at the number of volunteers who help the needy and ask nothing in return. RCS is there, no matter if the need is hunger, clothing or shelter from domestic violence that's needed. They don't turn folks in need away.
They are definitely a group of good people who work tirelessly to help others live a decent life, and we seldom hear about them. So any time anyone gets a chance to help with an RCS project, please say yes. It's a very needed project here in our area.
Fran Glaros-Sharp, Clearwater