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Sunday letters: Long-term realities of teaching were overlooked

What makes a great teacher? | Jan. 24, Perspective story

Long-term realities are lacking

I found your article about Teach for America underwhelming. Words like "surprising" and "radical" were used by the writer to describe their two decades of research that she was "allowed access to." And what were the findings? That qualities of great teachers include perseverance, dedication, and the ability to deliver well-planned, organized lessons. Really?

And how ironic that the two "stars" of the article, Steven Farr and William Taylor, persevered in the classroom for two and three years respectively before quitting or thinking about seeking administrative positions.

Most of us can dedicate ourselves to the point of exhaustion for a year or two, but maintaining that is difficult, if near impossible, and a recipe for burnout. The veteran teachers who "spent most of (their) time complaining" to the reporter have one thing the novice teachers lack: memory. Those of us who have been in the teaching profession for a while know things have gotten worse, a lot worse, mainly because of the policies set by people in charge, and not in the classroom.

As the Obama administration throws $4.3 billion at the nation's schools, making the misguided, heavy-handed education policies of the Bush era even worse, it is discouraging that those who quit the classroom, or have never been in it, are listened to and setting policy, while those who complain about those policies are deemed as having bad attitudes, etc., even when they continue to do their best, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. That, after all, is true perseverance.

Sarah Robinson, Safety Harbor

Tebows' abortion deception | Jan. 28, Susan Estrich column

She was just grateful she didn't have an abortion

As a woman, I must respond to Susan Estrich's column against the airing of the Tebow ad during the Super Bowl. Let's not read more into this than is intended. When I read the story, I saw it as a woman, thankful that she had not had an abortion. At the time, she did not know that her child would play football, let alone become a superstar. I saw it as a woman who loved the child (yes child, not fetus) she was carrying. She had no guarantee that the baby would live, that it would not be born with physical or mental handicaps. She made a decision based on what she felt at the time.

About her children, Estrich wrote: "Like most mothers, I prayed only that they would be healthy." As a mother, I did the same, but I would accept the child that God sent me.

If a child is to be born with mental or physical disabilities, do we condemn this child to capital punishment because it is not perfect? These members of our civilized society have more to offer than you know. My mother had 10 "normal" children and one mentally handicapped child. She always said that she learned more about the beauty of life from that one child than the other 10.

How can you say that Pam Tebow's story will make women who have made the painful choice of abortion feel bad? She is not judging other woman. She is simply stating what she did when she was faced with the difficult decision and how thankful she is today for the choice she made. I admire this lady!

Linda Cocchiola, Clearwater

Tebows' abortion deception | Jan. 28, Susan Estrich column

Each life has value

Susan Estrich doesn't seem to understand the fundamental reason why Tim Tebow's family and others oppose abortion. It is precisely because of the value of each human being that it is wrong to kill any baby-to-be. It's not because they might be a superstar, but because each and every person is priceless. Heisman Trophy winner or mentally challenged — each baby is precious and brings an unmatchable gift to the world.

Barbara Murphy, Belleair

Tebows' abortion deception | Jan. 28, Susan Estrich column

Manipulating emotions

Susan Estrich's article on Pam Tebow and son Tim was excellent!

The organization Focus on the Family is doing exactly what Estrich said, "This is emotional manipulation, pure and simple."

Pam and Tim Tebow should keep their very personal opinions to themselves and not use a sporting event as a way to foist their (and Focus on the Family's) viewpoint on an audience that just wants to watch a football game.

Thanks for putting into words all that I was thinking but having a hard time articulating.

Nanette Standfast, St. Petersburg

Kids in same-sex debate | Jan. 24, Floridian story

A matter of civil rights

As president of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Pinellas and the mother of a gay son who intends to adopt one day, I was most interested in your article on same-sex parenting.

All research points to the undisputed fact that same-sex couples can be as effective parents as opposite-sex couples. Judith Stacey of New York University states, "It's more about the quality of the parenting than the gender of the parents." Sociologists at the University of Southern California spent five years on a study and concluded that no research supported the theory that the gender of parents matters for the child's well being. I could go on citing studies that conclude that same-sex parents are as effective as opposite-sex parents. Nothing about a parent's sex determines whether or not he or she will be a good parent.

The child in your article just wants his same-sex parents to be recognized as a married couple and for his family to be embraced and recognized in our society, just as any child would want. This is a legal civil right this 10-year-old child desires for his family. The majority of us can attain this so easily, yet our society is so reluctant to grant this to our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Equal civil rights are what we want for all of our children and loved ones. Religious views have nothing to do with this. This is a legal civil matter that demonstrates we are all treated equally. Study the research and you will come to the same conclusion as I have. Children and families of same-sex couples deserve the same civil rights the majority of us so easily take for granted.

Kathy Miller, St. Petersburg

On school reform, just talk won't do | Jan. 24, editorial

Which way do we go?

In your editorial you offer ideas from a report called "Closing the Talent Gap."

Are you suggesting that we pull the low-scoring students up or pull the non-needs-based students down by not offering the Bright Futures scholarships to them?

Martin Kleiner, Tampa

Sunday letters: Long-term realities of teaching were overlooked 01/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 6:28pm]
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