Teachers deserve better treatment
I read with dismay the May 1 article, Grades should reflect performance, not behavior, Pasco County schools official says.
Actually, the word "dismay" doesn't accurately express my feelings regarding the comments related in this article.
Let me try again: I am incensed. I am insulted. I am aghast. And my colleagues and I don't deserve this type of sentiment from our school district.
Specifically, I take exception to the following statement: "Too often, (a district official) suggested, a zero represents a teacher's failure as much as a student's." This followed a comment that intimated a student's lack of success may be because of "not having received enough teacher support."
I mean, what? These do not appear to be direct quotes, so perhaps the reporter misunderstood the district official's comments.
I give every ounce of dedication and creative energy to ensuring the success of my students. As a 14-year employee of the district, I can unequivocally say that not one single student has failed because of me.
The suggestion that I share the culpability for a student's zero is simply out of touch with the high school classroom and the behavior of teenagers. To institute a "no zero" policy is to undermine my authority in the classroom and to allow the students, rather than me, to set the pace of instruction.
When students do not turn in work, it is not a manifestation of "behavior." Rather, it is a conscience decision on their part to not fulfil the expectations of the lesson. A zero is the rational consequence of not turning in work. For example, I allow students one full week after the due date to turn in assignments for late credit; some do, some don't. Is that as much my failure as my students'? The answer is no.
I also question the idea that teachers need to "create a better balance of graded assignments, so one major test or assignment does not overly sway the course grade." That sounds ironic to me, since Pasco administers state-required end-of-course exams that are a full 30 percent of the course grade in some classes. Is this not a major test that overly sways the grade?
Another of the suggested changes is to use "equal score ranges for each letter-grade level." Yet Florida Statutes state that "grade F equals zero percent through 59 percent and is defined as failure." Seems to me as if the idea of equal score ranges is counter to established law. Not to mention, it is counter to common sense. Giving a teenager a 50 if he or she doesn't hand in the assigned work is lunacy.
Finally, I'd like to suggest to reporter Jeff Solochek that he include multiple perspectives in his articles. This one should have included a teacher's voice, and perhaps even a student's.
Beth Seletos, New Port Richey
Golf course not suited for homes
I have been a resident of the Quail Hollow golf course neighborhood for nearly 15 years. I have been in the land use business for close to 40 years. I have owned a land surveying/engineering business for over 20 years.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, 38 percent of the 174-acre Quail Hollow golf course lies within a 100-year floodplain and 27 percent within a jurisdictional wetland. The remainder of the property also has drainage issues. There are approximately over 150 homes bordering the property, with approximately 75 of them having on-site septics and wells. These homes already have drainage problems. In my opinion, there is no permanent drainage design or solution for the effects that a 400-house development would bring.
In my opinion, the pollutants from a development of this density would have a significant impact on the Upper East Cypress Creek watershed area. Old Pasco Road is currently an outdated, undersized, overused road that could not handle the traffic that would be generated from an additional 400 houses. This additional traffic would create safety concerns as well as a major inconvenience for the existing rural neighborhoods.
In my opinion, the golf course is better suited for open space or the current recreational use than the high-density housing that has been proposed.
Eric Seitz, Wesley Chapel
Solar panel farm proposed in Pasco | May 5
Solar and wind a powerful combo
The article about the 90-acre solar panel farm in Pasco County was quite interesting. Doing a little arithmetic, it seems that 1 acre of solar panels can power approximately 27 houses. That is pretty good, but I hate to think of how many acres it would take to power a city like Tampa. We'd probably have to cover all of Pasco County.
But, seriously, since these solar panels pretty well take that acreage out of any other use, perhaps the power company should increase its productivity by installing wind generators above the solar panels. I don't know how many homes the typical wind generator can power, but it would get more use out of the same plot of land.
Solar and wind need not be an either/or situation. A combination of the two should far out-produce either one used singly.
Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson
Ridge Road debacle
Dirty tactics and greed push plan
I have been watching with disbelief the developments concerning the Ridge Road Extension project. I know that I am not alone in my anger with the fact that this expensive and damaging endeavor continues to move forward. It has already cost the taxpayers millions of dollars that could have been used in more productive ways.
One has to ask what drives this project on and on, or do we? To hear U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis defend it, he says it's about safety during evacuations. I have never had my intelligence so insulted. This excuse on its face is ridiculous. The extension will run west/east to end at U.S. 41. This road is already a quagmire of traffic. It does not directly connect to any expressway heading north.
Let's cut to the chase and throw out the real reason that Mr. Bilirakis and our county commissioners are driving this dead horse to the finish line. More urban development and money. Someone or several people are going to profit from this project, which will damage thousands of acres of Pasco wetlands and the Serenova tract. Greed and dirty tactics are what drives this county project forward. The fact that Rep. Bilirakis is going to Papa Trump to push through this nightmare is proof enough.
The real solution to our traffic nightmare is a coastal expressway. All anyone has to do is look at the map of Florida to see the obvious solution — expressways. What do we have? U.S. 19, so well- known that there is a movement to change its name in Pasco County. We are in desperate need of a coastal expressway running from Tampa/Clearwater up the coast to Tallahassee and beyond. This will not be built though because they cannot profit from it.
Michael Hagen, Port Richey