This is an outrage. Since when is it the job of American, English-speaking teachers to teach English in any and every subject to non-English-speaking students whose parents and other relatives probably speak nothing but Spanish to them at home? I hear it all the time in public, from the smallest child on up; they converse only in Spanish. It is up to their parents to learn English themselves and teach it at home first. There are classes in English as a second language.
Our teachers are called upon to do many things, including teaching discipline and respect (as well as their subject matter), all of which should be taught in the home and then reinforced in school if needed.
I know many wonderful Hispanic people who respect living in the United States enough to learn our language. And, yes, English is and always has been our official language in the 76 years I have been alive. Being bilingual is a wonderful thing, but English is and should be a priority.
Anna L. Hamilton, Tampa
Get rid of the IRS and tax consumption
We Americans and our businesses are penalized about $820 billion to comply with the IRS's burdensome tax code (74,000 pages and growing), and to compensate for the income taxes not collected from criminals, illegal immigrants and others who should pay income taxes but don't.
And, in light of the ongoing misconduct by the IRS and its intrusive delving into Americans' lives, businesses and organizations, it's apparent that the agency is not looking out for America's needs.
Congress, instead of applying more bandages in a knee-jerk attempt to keep the IRS tax code alive, should concede that it's time to scrap the agency and implement a tax system that works for all Americans. A consumption tax — a fair tax for instance — is unquestionably the way to go. Let's tax what we spend, not what we earn. Then watch the growth in real revenue collection, consumer spending, jobs and our overall economy.
Joe O'Hara, Ocala
Immigration claims and counterclaims July 13
U.S. failures spur influx
I lived in El Salvador in 2005-06 while serving as adviser on antigang matters to El Salvador's minister of national defense and director of the National Civil Police. I also co-chaired Central America's First International Anti-Gang Conference, so I feel I understand a large part of the reason causing the huge influx of women and children crossing our border illegally.
Out-of-control gang violence causing many gang-on-gang deaths has been part of the civil unrest since 2000 in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. For nearly 10 years, governments have employed the military to help suppress gang violence, resulting in 10 to 12 deaths a day in the three countries.
This violence is not new, nor was it the key reason women and young children began swarming our border. Yes, they were fleeing gang-related violence, but the sheer volume of recent border crossings came as a result of our administration's failure to enforce and make our immigration policy clear to the people of those nations.
Furthermore, once the flood of immigrants began, the administration failed miserably to help stem the tide of illegal immigration through a prompt response and clear communication with U.S. consular representatives and the media of those countries.
It's time to quit blaming Central American countries for a problem exacerbated by our nation's failed immigration policy and enforcement. Once again, politics and the realities of a huge spike in illegal immigration are running in the opposite direction.
Harvey Alexander Smith, Palm Harbor
Supreme Court will not dictate contraceptive use | July 16, PolitiFact
Important point obscured
in Pelosi misstatement
It is unfortunate that Nancy Pelosi misspoke when she said that the U.S. Supreme Court is "five guys who start determining what contraceptions are legal." As PolitiFact pointed out, that statement is false.
It is unfortunate because the point she was trying to make is an important one. She should have said that the U.S. Supreme Court is "five guys who start determining which companies can legally withhold contraceptive coverage from their employees' health insurance program."
What's next? Allowing companies to withhold transfusion coverage or vaccination coverage because the boss doesn't believe in those interventions?
Ken Girves, Palm Harbor
It's perfectly understandable that Nancy Pelosi "misspoke" and implied the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled certain contraceptives illegal.
When the government has its hands in virtually every aspect of public and private life, it can seem as if everything under the sun falls into one of two categories: subsidized and mandated, or outlawed.
Ryan Conley, Tampa
Reaction unworthy of U.S. July 16, letter
Drug demand is the source
I agree with the letters condemning the policies concerning the children entering the United States through Texas.
One thing I have not seen pointed out is that the influx of refugees is of our own making. It is our own archaic and unsuccessful drug laws that created the barbarous cartels that are forcing these people to leave their homelands.
Janet Dooley, Hudson
Welcome to Florida July 16, letter
Different time and place
The hundreds of unaccompanied children who came to Miami in 1961 arrived with the blessing and acceptance of all Americans and they would have been welcomed in any state.
The letter writer came to Florida not because Texans were unfriendly, but because of Florida's proximity to Cuba — just 100 miles. She would have been welcomed in any of our states.
The unaccompanied children now arriving in the Southwestern United States are coming in under conditions not the same as those in 1961.
Don Lucian, Largo
From the Web …
A selection of reader responses posted at Tampabay.com:
Mideast cease-fire desperately needed July 16, editorial
An honest assessment
Why the hatred of Israel by Gazans? Moshe Dayan, one of Israel's founding fathers, explained why in a funeral oration back in 1956, on the death of an Israeli colonist at the hands of a Palestinian whom Israel ethnically cleansed from his home:
"Let us not today fling accusation at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.
"We should demand his blood not from the Arabs of Gaza but from ourselves. … Let us make our reckoning today. We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house. … Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood."
Dayan was last honest Israeli politician.
— Le Chifre
Future of cruising | July 13, editorial
Containers over cruises
The concern should not be the cruise port market but the container market. With the enlarged (i.e., wider) Panama Canal, there will be more containers from the Pacific Rim coming into the Gulf of Mexico and hopefully to Tampa's expanding container port services. Then, some day, Cuba will open up. It is cheaper to run freight from Tampa to Havana than from Miami.
The container market is the real concern, not the cruise ships.
Not this oyster's world | July 13, Perspective
Old Florida's wonders
The Florida I grew up in and loved is slowly disappearing. It's sad that the mighty dollar and development are destroying the natural resources that made this state, at one time, a slice of heaven.