Sunday, May 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: 'Rubrics' destroy teacher morale

Improved evaluations help teachers, students | May 7, column

Pure self-serving propaganda

More frequent evaluation and feedback is good for the profession and everyone it impacts, but the foolish use of "rubrics" based on cobbled-together and often situation-specific "research" is not. The various applications of this stifling and capricious process have destroyed teacher morale across the state and are driving competent veterans from the profession.

MaryEllen Elia's column is pure self-serving political propaganda. Part of the proof for that statement lies in her glowing account of Hillsborough's Advanced Placement status as a "national leader." She does not reveal that AP classes are now a focus of all districts in Florida because increased enrollment pumps up school grades in the state-directed school grading system! Success (passing the end of course test) is not necessary, just increased enrollment. How is it "good for students" to push them into college-level classes, for which many if not most are unprepared or unable to succeed? Don't bet that the best interest of students is what is fundamentally at work here and elsewhere in Florida schools.

Fred Rydzik, New Port Richey

Improved evaluations help teachers, students | May 7, column

Dreaded evaluations

I am always amused when the Hillsborough County school superintendent addresses the Gates grant and the new teacher evaluation system. She says the teachers are all for the evaluation system and think the new system is helping them be better teachers. I don't know what teachers she talks to. I do know that teachers are intimidated by her and her cronies.

I have many friends who are teachers. Usually they tell me how some inexperienced evaluator comes in and tells them in one session how they should run their classroom. They tell me how they have to spend hours just on one lesson because the evaluator is coming in. They have told me how some teachers anguish over the evaluation.

I have looked at the teaching rubric. In some "exemplary" areas of the rubric, I don't even know how a teacher could accomplish them. Maybe next time when the superintendant addresses the paper she will have talked to teachers who are not handpicked.

Agnes Murphy, Valrico

Teachers blast printer cuts | May 6

Give teachers basic tools

The printer issue is not a new one. There may be a new contract, but we have had the same problem under the old contract. As a parent, I have grown tired of hearing my students at Dunedin High School tell me that teachers' hands are tied at getting certain information out because they are not allowed to use the printer and/or copies are rationed. One of my son's science exams last week was postponed because the teacher could not run enough copies for each student to have a copy of the exam! Incredible.

Superintendent John Stewart and his staff need to give teachers the flexibility to get the pieces of paper in the hands of our students and send appropriate communications home. Instead of reshuffling the administration deck, Mr. Stewart needs to actually cut some jobs, free up some dollars and allow our teachers to have the right tools.

James M. Hammond, Clearwater

Seniors pay in for nothing | May 8, letter

Elders' long-term vision

Seniors do care about the future. You recently published a letter from an "elder care advocate" who suggested senior citizens oppose new nuclear power plants supposedly because the plants may not be completed while a senior is alive. Disgraceful. It is an insult to seniors to suggest that they gauge society based solely upon what they can consume before they pass on. The Greatest Generation was exactly the opposite of that mentality.

Seniors do not oppose investments in our national security infrastructure because a particular aircraft carrier may not be deployed until after they're gone. Seniors do not oppose construction of a new elementary school because they no longer have children in their home. Seniors do not oppose environmental protection and cleaner air because they will not be here as long as the earth.

Nuclear plants producing low-cost electricity save us ratepayers billions of dollars over their lifetime, and they emit no carbon or other greenhouse gases.

Seniors do care about the future. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not an "elder advocate."

Jerry Paul, Energy Information Center, Venice

Republican priorities laid bare May 10, editorial

Defense is the priority

Your editors think it is a crime for the Republicans to make an effort to stave off dramatic cuts in the defense budget? What planet are you living on? All the "social safety nets" in the world will not protect us from the very real peril in the world today.

It is only a matter of time until Iran has a nuclear bomb.

It is only a matter of time until China decides to call in the chips on our massive debt.

It is only a matter of time until our porous borders are overrun with people seeking to wreak havoc in our country.

It is not the defense budget that is the problem. It is the "social safety nets" that are strangling this once great nation.

It is only a matter of time until we become Greece.

God help us all if the Republicans don't turn this ship around.

Laura Harris, Brandon

Do Ybor signs have Tampa all wrong? May 10

No need to fix La Setima

Really? A missing P in a sign is what people are worried about for the upcoming Republican National Convention. How many people of the 50,000 will pronounce Ybor City as Why-bor City? Maybe we need a sign so they can say it correctly.

I have a feeling everyone will be more concerned with the traffic.

Kristina Meyer, Tampa

Shut off Progress Energy? | May 8, letter

Consumption is a choice

The last time I checked, buying and consuming power is an option. You don't want a high bill, then turn off the hot water heater and AC and don't have more than one refrigerator. Suggesting to not pay the bill is absurd. Best of luck with the firewood keeping you cool this summer.

Eric Howe, Largo


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

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18

Monday’s letters: Good ideas to fix schools still require enough money

Another plan for faltering schools | May 9The right ideas, cash still neededThe administration of the Hillsborough County School District should be applauded for persistent efforts to find the right formula to improve educational results of stude...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Saturday’s letters: Short-sighted prison cuts hurt society

Call to rethink prison cuts | May 10Short-sighted prison cuts hurt societyThe Florida Department of Corrections is dismantling successful substance abuse and re-entry treatment programs to fix a $28 million shortfall. The short-sighted action wi...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/11/18