Online rule will stress schools | Oct. 3, Bill Maxwell column
Digital learning for all is a must
Providing every student with a digital learning experience, irrespective of a student's county of residence, is a must in the 21st century. Whether it is college courses, vocational certification or job training, today's students are expected to fulfill many higher education and workplace requirements virtually. In colleges and universities, nearly 30 percent of total enrollment is online enrollment.
The law requiring students to complete one online course in order to graduate from high school is just one attempt to prepare Florida students for an increasingly digital world. The law is extremely flexible, requiring one course in seven academic years to be online. There are 24 credits required for high school graduation; online courses taken in grades 6 through 8 fulfill the online requirement; and there are no restrictions on which courses count, when the courses are taken and where the courses are offered. This means that students may take any elective or core course, during school, after school, at home or during a study hall.
It is even more imperative that we prepare those students who do not have a computer at home or access to the Internet for the digital world we live in. If there is a school district in Florida that cannot offer a student, at one time during his or her middle or high school career, access to a computer and the Internet to take one course online, we have failed by not introducing those students to the digital world.
Patricia Levesque, executive director, Foundation for Florida's Future, Tallahassee
There have been recent newspaper and TV reports on a U.S. House subcommittee launching an investigation of Planned Parenthood.
I am not privy to all that is behind this matter, but I haven't yet heard of reasonable or probable cause that would justify Congress using its awesome power to conduct such a sweeping investigation. The House panel reportedly is demanding a dozen years of internal auditing from Planned Parenthood and 83 affiliates, two decades of state audits and information on how Planned Parenthood affiliates refer women to other clinics if they don't provide abortion services.
I, for one, would like to see this same investigative vigor aimed at Wall Street's misconduct.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
Protest reaches Tampa | Oct. 7
Hard work brings results
I have news for the protester who was quoted as saying, "We're here to protest inequities and people at the top deciding what we get." People have been deciding for this protester since birth: parents, teachers, principals, etc.
Here's an idea: Get a job, work hard and someday you may be like those making the decisions. Nothing substitutes for hard work.
Brent Munson, Largo
Obligations must be met
The Times ran a picture of a student protesting in Washington about the "weight" of his student loan.
First, no one made you apply for, then accept, a student loan. You did it entirely on your own.
Second, taxpayers don't owe you anything; you owe us. You borrowed tax money to finance your education, and once you graduate and are gainfully employed, you have an obligation to start paying us back. If you can't, then consider alternative methods of repayment. How about four years of military service in exchange for four years of college?
Third, why aren't you out looking for a job, instead of protesting? I seriously doubt if any of your fellow protesters are doing any hiring.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Solar scandal a sign of policy flaw | Oct. 10, letter
China dumping solar panels
The letter on the Solyndra loan that went bad only tells half the story. The other half is this: China dumped billions of dollars of solar panels in the United States in an effort to stop an American solar industry from taking root.
This is a matter of patriotism. Are we going to let foreign interests determine the fate of American industry? More than that, are we going to let foreign interests determine the fate of American politics?
Donna Hamel, St. Petersburg
Celebrated literature professor took risks Oct. 7, Epilogue
Professor was a treasure
I was saddened to read of the passing of professor Bob Hall. From 1972-1974 I attended USF St. Petersburg as a business administration major. For my nonmajor electives, I took literature, poetry and drama classes with professor Hall.
After the initial shock of the first night of class, everyone knew that they were in for something special. Attending a Bob Hall class was like walking into a play that you knew nothing about ahead of time, but when it was over, you had been enlightened, enriched and entertained.
Although I remember only a little of the specific course material covered, I have always remembered the passion that he brought to it, and the passion he exuded. He was a treasure.
Lamar Sprouse, Weeki Wachee
Girl hit, killed on way to school | Oct. 6
Change time for school
This girl was killed at 6:35 a.m. An hour later and the sun would have been up. Daylight saving time should switch to standard time in early October. Children should not be walking to school or standing at a bus stop in the dark.
Francine LeVine, Tampa
Rays Extra | Oct. 5
Congratulations to Times photographer Dirk Shadd for the magnificent photo on the front of the "Rays Extra" edition. The portion of the photo above the fold speaks volumes. Each fan registers his or her feelings, and the one person who is applauding is clearly persona non grata. Unfold the paper, and the team's disappointment appears.
Sad outcome, but the photo is a winner.
Sallie Miller Lowell, Tampa