Sunday, February 18, 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


Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18