Low fcat scores stun, upset many | May 15
Public school system is doomed
"Pathetic" is the only word for all these samples. Only 27 percent of fourth-graders passed the writing test under the original criteria. These students have gone to school every day for five years or maybe six, counting preschool. Sled and down are first-grade words. Have we stopped spelling tests? The concept of capital versus small letters is lost. I doubt they read or speak any better than they write. Of course, neither the Ph.D.s, teachers nor the unions are responsible for this debacle, and their answer is to lower the passing number. There is no hope for the public school system.
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo
Low fcat scores stun, upset many | May 15
Madness in the method
The FCAT is a sham that has gotten out of control. The reason it's not accurate or relevant is that not all students fit into one mold.
Teachers are tasked with giving instruction on this mess, which is not a true measure of their success. Most kids resent having to "do FCAT" in lieu of other classes. And the state keeps changing the test requirements and does not inform teachers of these differences in the FCAT. They should be more concerned with end-of-course testing. If the child fails, he gets no credit. It's just that simple.
Finally, this is yet another example of government intervention. Government needs to keep its nose out of the classroom as well as our homes.
Ron Gonzalez, Trinity
Simply dreadful writing
I attended a British grammar school many years ago. In those days the grammar school was post-elementary for students of greater ability. About 25 percent of children attended this type of school. We were expected to write an essay at home each week in script. Printing would have been totally unacceptable. I found the quality of the student writing examples that you published on Tuesday to be dreadful.
Brian Pasby, Floral City
Armwood football title in question | May 15
The fact that Armwood High School accepted falsified documents so it could field a championship team should come as no surprise to anyone. Sure, it is great to have a winning team, but the dire need for better education trumps it. America wonders and worries about the lack of students pursuing studies in mathematics, science and electronics, and rightly so. Blame the students, their parents or the school, but above all we should be de-emphasizing sports and other "glamorous" distractions in favor of academic study.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
College debt hobbles grads | May 14
Be smart from the get-go
Between mortgage debt and student loans, whatever happened to personal responsibility and repaying your debt? Why in the world would someone attend a private school when you can get as good (or better?) of an education at a state school for a fraction of the price, especially if you don't have parents or a trust fund to pay for it?
I applied only to two schools in 1976, Notre Dame and the University of Florida. Notre Dame was $15,000 for tuition, room, board, etc. UF was $3,000. As the oldest of five kids to a bricklayer and a housewife, it was a no-brainer. I went to UF, eventually receiving four degrees, an incredible education and manageable debt that was paid off within two years.
If your family can afford to pay for an expensive college, great. If not, it's no different from buying a house or car that you can't afford. Don't. Use the difference to buy your first home or start your profession. But don't cry about it later and ask the government for help.
Larry Heinkel, St. Petersburg
Arrests are in order
There need to be more consequences for the three JPMorgan executives than just stepping down. Their actions have hurt millions of Americans, and they should be arrested, arraigned and sentenced. Stepping down means nothing to these people. They're all multimillionaires, and the fallout from their actions will not hurt them as it will the average American.
Verne Humphrey, Clearwater
Back at ya, Bosox | May 14, letter
Back at ya, Rays fans
To the Rays fan spewing venom at the Red Sox Nation: Yes, your team has been beating us lately, but we still support our team more than you support yours. Yes, Fenway Park is a dump, but it sells out every game. Yes, the weather stinks there, but we still sell out every game. The Red Sox fans have historically been disappointed many more times than rewarded with success, but there is not a more passionate or more loyal fan base. Methinks that is why you hate us so much. If Rays fans tried to emulate us, the team may not have to leave the area.
Mike Lang, Seminole
Massacre before our eyes | May 14, letter
Stay out of war
In response to Mark L. Grantham's letter, I am truly sorry for the loss of your friends in Syria, but we have been getting ourselves involved in other countries' business for too long. Let them fight their own battles. Bring our men and women home. I lost a brother in World War II. That was enough for me.
Evelyn Teta, Brandon
Who's flagged by voter checks? | May 13
Shades of Jim Crow
I am concerned that the recently raised claim that thousands of illegal immigrants are voting in Florida elections is just an excuse for the Republican-controlled state Capitol to add further restrictions to the voter franchise. Will people in the future be required to provide proof of citizenship at the polls, especially if they happen to have a Hispanic or foreign-sounding surname? Shades of Jim Crow. Voting is not a privilege — it is a right!
Sandra J. Gander, Bradenton
Gov. Scott's chief of staff resigns after year May 13
Scott had to know
You mean to tell me that Gov. Rick Scott knew nothing about his chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, giving no-bid contracts to friends? Unless maybe Scott had his eyes wide shut, I find it difficult to believe.
If it weren't for the investigative work of Mary Ellen Klas of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau, there would still be dirty little deals going on in Scott's office. It's as bad as nepotism and a disgrace to our state.
JoAnn Lee Frank, St. Petersburg