Clearwater High ditches textbooks | June 2, story
Use of e-readers raises questions
While I am not opposed to new technology, I do have a few questions regarding the Kindle reading device.
I'm wondering how much the final cost will be. Also, what will the replacement cost be for students who lose/damage their reader? Not all parents will pay for insurance, so who is going to pick up the replacement cost?
Also, signing a statement agreeing to not access inappropriate websites does not guarantee this won't happen. Is there a way to block sites?
I was dismayed that the reader can convert text to voice. Does this mean that students don't have to worry if they can read or not?
If this is about "going green," is there a plan for recycling or repurposing the materials? A book can be totally recycled and reused.
Finally, the money mentioned was allocated to the school for technology and classroom materials over six years. A lot of things change in six years. What will they do for money to cover costs of any new technology or materials in the coming years? As we all know, borrowing money in advance is risky.
Hopefully, this has been well researched with all probabilities considered.
Sally Ann Gasky, St. Petersburg
Great step forward
Kudos to Clearwater High School for its progressive approach to getting rid of the "old school" textbooks.
This is a great step forward from the old, cumbersome textbooks that are costly not only in dollars but also in the huge toll they take on our environment with all the trees that are used in making them.
There is also the money saved in storing them in warehouses and transporting them across the country. E-readers have another advantage in that if there is a misprint or error in the text it can be corrected very easily.
There may be other unforeseen benefits like being able to choose between the Texas Board of Education version of U.S. history or being able to pick a more rational version.
Scott McKown, Palm Harbor
Needed corrections | June 2, letter
School texts have been tainted for too long
Your May 27 editorial Politicized curriculum will handicap students was laughable and revealed ignorance of what's happened to school curriculum during the past five decades.
As a veteran educator (since the '60s,) I totally agree with the letter writer's response pointing out that during these last five decades, textbooks have become a mouthpiece of liberalism, blatantly rewriting history to suit their agenda.
Students need to have unbiased accounts of history in order to know what our country was founded on and how it has evolved. Perhaps the changes taking place in Texas will serve to help restore accurate, impartial material in textbooks. Our students deserve the truth.
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
Needed corrections | June 2, letter
Facing the past honestly
The letter writer likes the Texas Board of Education's approach to "restoring" our history books to the way they were many years ago.
I attended high school in the late '50s, when there was no mention of the Holocaust in textbooks, nor was there any reference to discrimination against Native Americans, Jews, African-Americans or Hispanics, and the "Indians" were depicted as a bunch of bloodthirsty villains who scalped and plundered innocent white people.
A reading of textbooks at that time would have revealed those "truths" then, but not today. I know this because I am a substitute teacher and in current high school textbooks the Holocaust is discussed, however briefly. There is a section on the discrimination that existed and still exists today in this country against minorities, and Native Americans are now treated with more respect, dignity and accuracy regarding their near annihilation and forced march off their lands, a subject never mentioned years ago.
One hallmark of a free society is the ability to deal honestly with its blemished past and present in school textbooks. The so-called "skewing to the left" in history books today represents to me more of a return to accuracy and completeness that was missing years ago, not a restoration of facts as suggested by the letter writer.
Stephen Feldman, Valrico
Politics at heart of criminal investigations swirling across Florida | May 29
Remember Bill Young
It seems this article has missed some important information for the voters of Pinellas County. This article talks about the abuse of power of Alan Mendelsohn, Scott Rothstein, Ray Sansom and Jim Greer, all of whom should be highlighted. But it leaves out our hometown GOP favorite, C.W. Bill Young, who should also be highlighted.
I do a lot of my news reading online and I saw that Rep. Young is at the center of a Congressional Ethics Office lobbying probe that has been handed over to the Justice Department. This is a big deal, yet I have not seen this being covered in the Times.
I know that Rep. Young has brought a lot of bacon back to our district, which those who get in on the meal really appreciate, but it appears there's been a lot of impropriety in these lobbyist-dollars-for-political-favors type of exchanges. Many of these exchanges benefitted those close to Young.
These are items that should be front and center in the Times as local politics have the most impact on our community. I'd like to see some in-depth coverage of this and all political news items that have a high impact on our local community. This is what is necessary for us to make informed choices come November and each election cycle.
Chuck Terzian, Gulfport
A broken political system | May 31
Where the real damage is
Your editorial's title made me think this newspaper had finally seen the light and was switching gears to the right. But the first line said, "A recent statewide poll has confirmed what many Floridians already knew: The state's Republican-led Legislature is out of synch with voters, including most of those in its own party."
To make this opinion a more factual one, just substitute "nationwide" for "statewide," "Americans" for "Floridians," "nation's Democrat-led" for "state's Republican-led."
The broken system in Washington greatly overshadows that in Florida, and will have a much greater negative impact on Floridians, as well as all Americans.
Arthur McClelland, St. Petersburg
Once again, with feeling | June 1, Maureen Dowd column
Seeing the light
I read it and couldn't believe it. I read it again. It was true. Maureen Dowd, the darling of the left, the unabashedly biased Democrat, the ubiquitous Bush basher was spewing a gusher of disgust with President Barack Obama!
It appears that Dowd finally arrived at the conclusion that Obama carries the lightest resume of any modern president and is, indeed, "in over his head." She will never admit it, but her article shows that she agrees with Dick Cheney: We are stuck with a "dithering," telepromted president.
Dan Holmer, Brandon