Jeb Bush addresses issues, not 2016 | March 22
Learning is more than taking tests
Jeb Bush said, "In Asia today, they don't care about children's self-esteem. They care about math, whether they can read — in English — whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful." Does Bush realize that Japan and South Korea have the highest teenage suicide rate in the world, and it is getting worse?
My husband and I are retired teachers with family members who are still in the profession. I always saw students perform better when they were treated with respect and given the opportunity to learn at their own rate. Albert Einstein said, "Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid." The way the FCAT has been used in Florida to grade children has created a lot of fish who think they are stupid just because they don't perform well on a test.
Lynda Hodge, Palmetto
Buckhorn lays out ambitious agenda March 26, editorial
First, improve bus service
I read with interest that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants to improve public transportation in Hillsborough County and partner with Pinellas County to do so. If he wants to accomplish this, the place to start is with the system already in place.
We took the bus to the Tampa Bay AirFest and were very pleased with the service. So when planning a visit to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for a Storm game, we thought we'd again use the bus. Imagine my surprise to discover that the buses stop running downtown about 9:30 p.m. on the weekends. This is the very time you need them if you want to encourage folks to attend a game or a show or avail themselves of the wonderful dining and entertainment in the Channelside district or Ybor City. Parking is limited and expensive.
Let's fix this situation before we worry about adding light rail.
Carole Scott, Pinellas Park
Be nice, or end up on YouTube | March 28
The tailgater obviously has his own issues, but I wish the videographer was also ticketed for cellphone usage while driving. Taking cellphone videos while driving, in the rain, with slick roads, while being tailgated and surrounded by trucks surely violates even our Legislature's lame attempt at controlling the phenomenon of incessant pawing of phones. Hang up and drive, please.
Tom Shille, Temple Terrace
Taco Bell breakfast not so bad | March 28
Into the nutritional void
Why not give your readers a more accurate picture of the Waffle Taco? What's the calorie content? How much sodium is in the Waffle Taco? I imagine the answer is: Not so good. Considering that, according to the CDC, 25 percent of Floridians are obese and heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Florida, you would be doing your readers a service if you emphasized healthy dining choices on the front page of your paper, rather than encouraging the high-fat, high-sodium choices offered by fast-food chains.
While you're at it, why not offer healthy recipes and cooking tips in the Taste section, rather than the high-fat recipes for desserts that you print week after week?
Terri Tankel, Dunedin
As fund shrinks, schools tussle | March 30
Protect the public schools
Big business has realized that education is big business, and therefore wants to get as much of the money that goes to education as it can. Businesses have created these schools for profit so they can siphon off the funds that go to public education.
The sad thing about the issue is that our Legislature has bought into this sham. How can they neglect public schools so some corporation can profit tremendously from our children? Public schools have been the way to success for generations.
Garth Albury, St. Petersburg
Nearly 500 open wide for free care March 29
Signs of a banana republic
I had to blink a couple of times when I read the Saturday paper to remind myself that I was living in a "developed" nation.
I read three front-page articles: the first about a charitable effort to get dental care to impoverished people; the second about a woman accused of abusing her eight children for years, children who were not seen by anyone in authority as they were home-schooled; and finally, a celebration of the fact that there were only 588,000 unemployed Floridians.
These articles seem to describe life in a Central American banana republic. Yet here we are, in the United States, descending into the abyss of Third World poverty while a select few are becoming wildly wealthy.
Lynn Bosco, Clearwater
High school students
I am a driver for the Jolley Trolley in Clearwater. Our company was hired to provide shuttle service this past week for the Florida State High School Thespian competition held in downtown Tampa. There were three venues — the Straz, the Convention Center and Tampa Theatre — and I transported thousands of kids during the course of the event.
I was told there were 10,000-plus high-schoolers and chaperones in attendance. I didn't hear one bad word or negative comment the entire time. These young adults were fantastic to be around and always greeted me with a "Hello," "Have a nice day" or "Thank you."
It's nice to be around young people who show respect and have goals and aspirations for their lives. My hat is off to all of them and to their parents and coaches who have done their jobs extremely well.
Ron Holzman, Clearwater
Signup concerns linger | March 27
There's another deadline coming up April 15. Perhaps President Barack Obama can use his pen and/or phone to extend that one too.
Sam Pannill, Largo