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We must reinvent higher education

Online courses rewrite college | June 14, story

We must reinvent higher education

This article presents what was clearly the most important information in Sunday's paper: new strategies for postsecondary education. If this nation is to prosper and people's lives be fulfilled and enriched, we as a nation must completely reinvent our college and university education system. It must be more effective and less costly and double the number of graduates.

As a nation we are locked into traditional, costly and often less effective on-campus approaches. With online education, where appropriate, some two-year programs could be presented at little to no cost and there could be a major increase in quality. Online education for third- and fourth-year classes, while less applicable, could have significant quality and cost impact.

Recently I sent a thesis on the need for a new paradigm in postsecondary education to our politicians and educators. The responses ranged from agreement (Florida Department of Education) to it will never work (state university system's Board of Governors).

Will Holcombe, with the Florida Department of Education, wrote, "The 'old' system got this country to the point where 25 percent of the population has a college degree. The 'new' system has to get us to 50 percent or higher. We have some of the infrastructure in place to accomplish that goal, but we must make some fundamental changes to our approach if we are going to make any real progress. We can't afford to double our investment to get double the results. Keep thinking." This is the right kind of thinking.

This is "change we need." Please keep pushing education reform. I would like to see a series on postsecondary education reform.

Richard Oliver Mayer, Palm Harbor

The big hate | June 15, Paul Krugman column

To disagree is enough to make you a hater

To head this column with The big hate over pictures of Glenn Beck, Jon Voight, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly is beyond nasty, but does not surprise me. To equate the insane act of a lunatic killing a guard at the Holocaust Museum and the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building by Timothy McVeigh with conservative ideals is as nutty as the two men who perpetrated these acts.

A "hater" is someone who doesn't agree with the politics of Krugman and his ilk on the far left. If you think that government control of the financial industry is a bad thing, you must be a hater. If you think the specter of a government-run health program is a pending disaster, you must be a hater. If you find it morally reprehensible to pass massive debt to our children and grandchildren, well, you must be a hater. If you believe that Obama's incessant apologizing for our country in Europe and the Middle East is shameful, there you go again — you're a hater.

As many conservatives do, I believe the Obama administration's policies are a disaster for this country. By that measure, put me in the "hate" line.

Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach

The big hate | June 15, Paul Krugman column

Silencing opponents

Paul Krugman admonishes us that talk radio, the conservative media, the Republican National Committee and Fox News create some sort of a platform or environment that inspired the recent shooting deaths of the late-term abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., and the guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Nonsense!

While Krugman's conclusions in that regard are based on nebulous speculation and subjective conjecture, his motive in doing so is patently clear. He wants to shut down views that conflict with his philosophical concept of how the political, social and economic matrix of the United States should be constituted. He seeks to accomplish his mission by slinging mud, and making ad hominem attacks against people who robustly and articulately disagree with him by branding them as "right-wing extremists".

Jack B. McPherson, New Port Richey

The big hate | June 15, Paul Krugman column

Suspects on the left

After reading Paul Krugman's column, naming Glenn Beck, Jon Voight, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly as the antagonists, why don't we have an equal and fair viewpoint column for your readers to express their own choices of who might qualify?

I'll begin with my choice of "big haters" and they are as follows: Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, David Letterman, and Maureen Dowd. I could think of more but you get the idea.

J. Arcuri-Wald, Dunedin

The big hate | June 15, Paul Krugman column

Extremist offerings

I read Paul Krugman's commentary with interest. It has been several years since I have occasionally tuned in to listen to the various conservative talk show entertainers to hear what the current right-wing chatter was about. I have to say I was taken aback by some of the extremist-tinged dialogue that I heard and wondered if it was just me. Apparently not.

I call these radio hosts "entertainers" because I find much of the political commentary fails to cast a full light on the issues. While these shows provide some level of entertainment, one should not rely on them for a full and unbiased look at our nation's issues.

Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon

Buddy Johnson

It's overkill

As one of the first (and few) Republicans to call out the lack of competence and integrity of Buddy Johnson (letters, March 16, 2008), I am no buddy of Buddy's. More than likely he is going to end up in a bright orange jumpsuit in a room with no view.

But after countless reports of every one of Johnson's transgressions, enough is enough. I keep waiting for the story about how he walked his dog without a leash. We know he's a scoundrel, but the Times' reporting on him is starting to look more like a hatchet-job than valuable reporting.

The Times should use valuable page-space to focus on the bad public policy or questionable behavior of other elected officials. There is certainly no shortage if you just go out and look for it.

Chris Ingram, Tampa

Crane too tame to live free | June 13

Magnificent birds

Thanks to Barbara Behrendt for her excellent article about the endangered whooping cranes, although it was disturbing to read about the one individual in Spring Hill who refused to put his or her bird feeder away until the cranes migrated when asked to do so. I encourage that person and others to visit to learn about the efforts to reintroduce these magnificent birds.

Each fall, the daily flight journal is posted as the new group of birds is led to Florida from Wisconsin by ultralight planes. Hopefully, interested individuals can really come to appreciate the efforts and expense involved.

I hope to see more articles in the St. Petersburg Times related to reintroduction efforts and preservation of environment and wildlife.

Kathy Hoeper, Redington Shores

A joy to read

I recently spent two weeks in St. Petersburg with my wife while she recuperated from surgery. (She had the surgery at the excellent Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, which your newspaper featured during our stay.)

For the first few days I purchased USA Today and was satisfied with the formula coverage it provides. However, what a delight it was to discover the St. Petersburg Times! I was amazed when I opened it and found what I haven't seen in years in a local daily newspaper — in depth coverage of news, international, state and local, feature articles about substantive subjects, and seriously considered editorials. Congratulations!

Your paper is a joy to read and a bargain to beat. I don't know how you are doing it but I hope your paper is held up to others to show it can be done even in the Internet age. Thank you for work well done!

George Palmer, Jacksonville

We must reinvent higher education 06/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 7:23pm]
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