Teachers feeling political knife
Malcolm X said "you can't drive a knife in a man's back nine inches, pull it out six, and call it progress" and while he didn't have Florida's teachers in mind when he spoke these lines he might as well have.
A year has not passed since the ill-fated Senate Bill 6 easily rolled through both legislative houses in Tallahassee and left teachers feeling persona non grata. Now teachers are yet again feeling the sharp edge of another bill that seeks to hold their pay tied to student test scores. This new bill offers no clear language on how test scores will impact teacher pay. Instead, something called a "value added" formula will be the barometer of successful teaching.
No teacher in Pasco County has received a pay raise in three years so the very idea of offering a pay raise without any additional funding from the state comes as yet another political attempt to sound tough on education reform but ends up demoralizing teachers in the state of Florida.
Here's an idea that the good citizens of Florida should put into action: let's pay the state legislators on their sky rocketing approval rating, or how narrowly they defeated their last opponent when elected to office, or better yet let's assess the bills they put into law by how much they increase the overall quality of life for the average everyday citizen and determine their pay increases then. Sounds impossible, right? Exactly.
Josh Arnold, Wesley Chapel
Psychology of the panhandlers
Street beggars are not only getting more aggressive, they are using psychology on us as well.
Recently I was at a restaurant on Fowler Avenue in Tampa and observed a young woman with a sign that said she was an out-of-work mother and needed help. She walked to the back of the parking lot to a male who was resting. The two of them had a few words, he kissed her and pointed for her to get back out in the intersection, as she did.
After a while, she returned to the parking lot. His sign said he needed money to get back home which is to make us believe if he gets enough money he will go away. The two of them left in what appeared to be a fairly new car.
Another young male individual with blond hair came up to me and said, "I am locked out of my grandmother's apartment and I am a diabetic and need $3 to buy sugar." I offered to take him into Dunkin Donuts. He refused. Then I informed him that about six months ago he told me the same story. I told him he should make up a new story, change his dyed hair color and get his own apartment. They don't like it when you tell them like it is.
Then there is the woman in a Walmart parking lot with three kids saying she is a single mother and needed formula for her baby. I saw the kids and by the looks of their ages, they didn't use formula. I gave her $20 so I could observe what she would do. I watched her turn around, smile at a young man, wave the money at him and put the money in her bra with a big smile on her face. She's there quiet often.
Some of the other things they do is to stare at you until you give them money, stand in the intersection with a puppy and stand on the corner with small kids. Next time you're out, look around the intersection and count how many other people are waiting their turn to stand out there.
There are some people who need help. The problem is which ones do we help? Has anyone noticed that they are on some type of time schedule? They are not out on the corners or in parking lots during the evening. I guess they have to rest while watching their favorite cable TV show.
Wesley Hawkins, Gowers Corner