Scott's signature changes teaching | March 25
Reward teachers for dedication
As a parent of a struggling student, I am in favor of the Student Success Act. After a change in schools during the second semester of first grade, I noticed a difference in the assistance available from the school. The principal has a more active role in what is going on in the classroom and is available to intervene when necessary.
Teachers are eager to discuss progress with me in person, by e-mail or telephone, at any point of the day. I feel they should be rewarded for their dedication to their students' success. All educators are not created equal. Not all educators go the extra mile to ensure each student receives the personal care and attention needed to be a successful learner. It seems unfair that they receive the same salary and benefits as someone who has simply done the bare minimum to maintain employment.
As a nurse, I cannot guarantee each patient's outcome, but my performance is evaluated annually, and based on my performance I have the potential for a pay increase. I feel educators should be held to the same standards.
Veronica Williams, Pinellas Park
Scott's signature changes teaching March 25
Money spent on testing should be used for students
It is a dismal day for educators with Gov. Rick Scott's signing of this bill. I am pro-teacher and pro-student, and this legislation is not in the best interest of either.
The governor's budget cuts $780 per student next year. This bill will require more testing for students and additional evaluations for educators. None of these have been developed and will cost additional money that could be used for our students.
Marilyn Warner, Clearwater
Norman targets animal activists | March 22
It's refreshing to hear that state Sen. Jim Norman is in the process of redeeming himself from a few past missteps by working on legislation that will truly benefit all his constituents: a bill to prevent filming on farms.
I know this subject is on the minds of all of Floridians, particularly the close to 12 percent unemployed and those who have lost loved ones to a prescription drug overdose.
Norman was urged to file the bill by his friend, egg farmer Wilton Simpson, who also has filed to run for the state Senate.
Norman epitomizes all that's shameful in politics. By no means is he alone; he's just the current poster boy for the cronyism that is seemingly a fundamental component of Florida politics.
Derek Roberts, Clearwater
United States must lead
When did leadership become an undesirable attribute? It has been the history of this great nation to provide leadership on many fronts, including international affairs from moral as well as economic points of view.
Yet our president seems determined to stress repeatedly that the United States will not be a leader in Libya, and he has previously asserted that the United States is just another nation on the world stage.
Leadership is both a right and a duty; it brings burdens and rewards. We should welcome the opportunity to continue to exercise the leadership from which so many others have benefited over the years.
Bill Stober, Clearwater
Wake up, Florida tea party. The people you elected to the Florida Legislature have proposed bills on abortion that erode our constitutionally protected right to privacy.
These bills do nothing to reduce the size of government. They do nothing to create jobs. They do nothing to balance the state's budget. They do everything to make government bigger and more powerful.
Let's put Florida back to work and let's say no to big government that wants to control our privacy.
Bev Noun, St. Petersburg
Judicial bonuses urged | March 24
Cuts and bonuses
Can anyone explain the logic behind cutting pay to motivate people making less than $50,000, i.e., teachers, but proposing bonuses to motivate those making over $100,000, i.e., judges, to do a better job?
Janice White, Largo
Some officers weigh risk vs. heat | March 23
Officers should wear vest
The article about officers weighing risks vs. heat should not be about heat; it should be about safety.
I'm retired military, and personnel in Iraq are required to wear a vest while on duty in a hazardous environment even if it's 120 degrees outside. Plus they wear up to 80 pounds of gear while on patrol.
An officer getting out of a air-conditioned patrol car and having to run down a suspect should be in good enough physical shape not to get "delirious," as stated in the article.
I respect the police for what they do, but seriously, wear the vest.
Rick Boyle, Largo
Bill may ease rules in 30 fields | March 16
Risks of deregulation
A recent letter expressed concern about professions being deregulated. It should be a concern to the people of Florida that there already is one profession in the state that is exempt from any regulation and licensing: water conditioning companies.
These are the people who deal with one of our most valuable resources. One of the purposes of government is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people. Yet these companies operate with no proof of experience, insurance or regulation by any agency.
Wayne Madascy, Seminole
We write in response to your recent stories and editorial about the Salvation Army. Collectively we chair Salvation Army advisory boards in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater, and represent more than 120 local business owners, philanthropists and community activists who help lead Army programs in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
We see on a daily and first-hand basis the dedicated and outstanding services provided by the Army locally, including:
• Shelter to hundreds of homeless men, women and children.
• Emergency assistance for food, rent and utility payments.
• Long-term transitional housing.
• Youth programs.
• Successful substance abuse programs.
• Disaster services.
Each local advisory board has a finance committee that reviews all income and expenses in detail and approves an annual budget. Internal and independent external audits are conducted annually at the local and corporate level, and a complete annual report of services and finance is published and available in each local community.
Susan L. Blackburn, St. Petersburg; Shamus Warren, Tampa; Roger E. Haymond, Clearwater