Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Many tutors provide quality service

A Times investigation: No cash left behind Feb. 10-11

Dedicated tutors provide students quality service

In response to your series on Supplemental Education Services, I join thousands of members of the Tutor Our Children coalition in condemning abuses in the SES program. As with any program, there have been bad actors, and TOC strongly believes they should be held accountable. However, it is unfair to paint, with the same brush, the many conscientious providers who strive to provide quality tutoring support to children struggling in low-performing schools. TOC is at the forefront of efforts to critically evaluate and enhance this program, including supporting federal legislation designed to expand access to tutoring while requiring rigorous certification, reporting and accountability for tutoring providers.

TOC was founded by tutoring services providers. We are proud of our efforts to give a voice to parents and students who support this program but are forgotten in the debate over education reform.

There is ample research documenting the efficacy of SES tutoring. A study by the U.S. Education Department found the vast majority of participants in SES are from underrepresented minority backgrounds and that SES participation and achievement gains were statistically significant in both mathematics and reading.

The Hillsborough County School District was one of five measured in the study where students benefitted significantly from SES tutoring. A 2012 Florida Inspector General report also found that "significant learning gains were realized" as a result of SES, and that the program "is beneficial and effective in enhancing the academic achievement of students."

SES tutoring provides vital academic support to children of families who otherwise lack the means to pay for this basic assistance. Imposing rigorous standards on SES programs while ensuring our most vulnerable children have continued access is the right thing to do.

Stephanie Monroe, Tutor Our Children, Baltimore

Florida budget

Scott's correct priorities

Gov. Rick Scott recently released his budget for fiscal year 2013-14, and his emphasis is rightly placed on education and jobs. This is where our state's focus must be to continue building a skilled workforce and growing jobs.

One of many proposals of note is the governor's recommendation to double the annual funding for Florida's Quick Response Training Grant program, from $6 million to $12 million. This grant program directly helps expanding Florida businesses like Pinellas County-based Power Design Inc. The company expects to hire and train 134 people with the help of a QRT grant awarded in 2012. This performance-based, partial reimbursement program heightens productivity, enhances employees' skills and increases workers' wages upon completion. Recent data show employees' wages, on average, increased by nearly 30 percent after receiving QRT-supported training.

As chairman of the Workforce Florida board of directors, I applaud Scott for putting Florida's families first in his proposed state budget.

Dwayne E. Ingram, chairman, Workforce Florida Inc., Odessa

It's not limited to Greer | Feb. 12

Keep after this scandal

Adam C. Smith has done an outstanding job on the coverage of the Jim Greer case. He has made the point that Greer was not in this alone and covered the relationships to former Gov. Charlie Crist and others fairly. His comments on the relationship between Greer and the current administration were right on.

I would hope that Smith and this paper now move forward and address these issues in the other parties in our state and perhaps become a force to change this problem. I am sure all parties have this problem and we need, as noted by Smith, major changes in the law and the enforcement of these laws.

Sadly, this problem is at the national level as well as the local level.

Rich Prestera, Treasure Island

Truth is still out there

The Republican Party pulled a coup by having Jim Greer plead guilty, sparing a trial. A trial would have embarrassed not only the Florida GOP but the national party as well, and its "poster boy" Marco Rubio.

Contrary to GOP attorney Steve Dobson's statement, now we will never know the truth. There were too many powerful politicians involved. As citizens and voters we should have all the facts of the case.

If the GOP wants to claim its innocence in this case, Greer should receive the maximum punishment and not a slap on the wrist for taking one for the party.

Joseph Rohrbacher, Spring Hill

Florida Orchestra

Dynamic podium presence

My wife and I have been attending symphonies in Tampa since 1959. I have been out of state for seven months and returned to read that Stefan Sanderling is now conductor emeritus and artistic adviser, and that the orchestra is having a series of guest conductors so board members can chose a new music director and conductor.

Although Sanderling may be an excellent music director, I always thought his stage presence was rather mediocre and he lacked animation and vitality on the podium.

Having attended the Feb. 8 pops concert, I was extremely impressed with guest conductor Victor Vanacore. His stage presence was exhilarating. He was personable, effervescent and exuberant. The audience loved him. If the board could pry him away from the smog in Los Angeles it would be a feather in their caps. I believe that such an esteemed conductor of his status would definitely increase ticket sales.

Edward C. Prange, Tampa

Who's at the Trop? Feb. 10

Flesh out the figures

Only 800 season ticket fans from St. Petersburg? Why not include the total number from Pinellas County? That would be a relevant figure for the discussion. It would also be important to know how many of us in the county have partial season ticket packages. Admittedly the number quoted is low and in need of improvement, but these other numbers are important as well.

We have been partial season ticket holders from Pinellas for more than a dozen years. When the kids were at home they also had tickets. Now that they're gone, we still have tickets for ourselves.

A year ago we attended a Sunday evening concert at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. We were stuck in a traffic jam that was literally 2 miles long trying to get to the Forum, and that was on a Sunday. Frankly, if the stadium were in Tampa, the Rays would see us no more than a couple of times a season. We are not interested in sitting in weekday rush-hour traffic in Tampa.

John Fischer, Palm Harbor

President urges: Let's get it done Feb. 13

No help for jobless

Young black men in America's inner cities already have unemployment rates nearing 50 percent, and so to "help" them President Barack Obama wants to raise the minimum wage.

Coupled with having to pay for Obamacare, this will give employers more reason than ever to refuse to hire, and those with the poorest job prospects will face even harder times.

Rolf Parta, Bradenton


Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Updated: 8 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17