Two-party system is failing us
The two-party system of politics is flat-out failing the American people. Republicans are too mired in ideas of the past to be able to forge a vision for the future, while Democrats lack the courage to back their best plans. And both parties have sold out to special interests and the corporate world.
Unfortunately, attempts by third parties such Libertarian, Green and Constitution have failed to garner much support.
We need politicians who prioritize issues according to their impact on the general populace, not by what is the hot-button topic of the month.
We need leaders with the discipline to do the right thing, regardless of what big-mouth media blowhards say.
We need people who are more concerned about their constituents than getting re-elected.
We need candidates who are better listeners than talkers, strong enough to be independent of party-line thinking and stay true to their campaign promises.
We need public servants who are frugal, progressive and green. But if we the people continue to choose politicians based on their views of abortion, gay rights and gun laws then we should not be surprised or disappointed if they fail when it comes to the economy, environment and foreign affairs.
Chip Thomas, Tampa
NRA wants a "shoot first" society Oct. 25, letter
Defenders put in jeopardy
A letter writer challenges the National Rifle Association to cite a single instance where anyone has been charged for defending him/herself with a firearm from an armed predator, robber, rapist, home invader, etc.
Here are two cases:
• From the Tallahassee Democrat: "Jared L. Fowler, 23, was charged with killing Don J. Bain, a man who entered his home and shouted, 'I'm going to kill you.' "
• A jury acquitted a 39-year-old man of aggravated assault. Christopher Phillips faced a 20-year sentence if found guilty in the scuffle with his assailant, who attacked with a knife and baseball bat.
I'm guessing that the letter writer knows about these and maybe more such cases where defenders are put in jeopardy of incarceration for standing their ground.
Richard Harris, St. Petersburg
Parents aren't FCAT fans | Oct. 24
As a university professor whose training includes test construction, I am not surprised to learn that parents don't like the FCAT. Parents, it seems, overwhelmingly prefer classroom grades and classroom test scores. Coincidentally, both have been rising steadily for decades, where standardized test scores have not.
What a surprise that mom and dad prefer the measures that make their children look better. The idea that their B-minus and sometimes A-minus-earning children could be only average among all students is just revolting to them.
Education is a fascinating area, precisely because it is the one field where people with absolutely no training feel entitled to berate professionals. But then, it seems the general public doesn't see the hypocrisy in complaining constantly about "bad teachers" — even as parents continually apply pressure to inflate the grades of their children.
Eric Odgaard, Lutz
Teach children finances
The schools need to seriously consider teaching financial literacy as a K-12 course. You could use a game, Cash Flow 101, to help children learn finances. In this economy, we need to help students understand money and investment.
Donna Craig, Brandon
Lack of professionalism
A few years ago, I attended an awards ceremony at a nearby elementary school. A lady who came and sat in the audience wore pajamas. She was identified as one of the teachers.
Personal appearance is extremely important to young people as some tend to emulate their teachers. I feel, in this respect, that some of our teachers are losing their identities as professionals.
Marguerite Ricks, Riverview
Slain mom put autistic son first | Oct. 28
Disability isn't 'wrong'
Saying "something was wrong" with the boy Aidric Hunt because he's autistic is not a neutral statement. This could have been worded differently. Aidric has a brain different from most people, but that doesn't mean anything's "wrong" with him.
Now, the man accused of killing Aidric's mom? If guilty, that's someone who has "something wrong" with him.
J.B. Williams, Tampa