For black women, a marriage problem | Oct. 6, commentary
Unintended consequences sting
The "marriage problem" faced by African-American women is an unintended consequence of affirmative action programs started in the 1970s.
Human resources departments quickly figured out that when it came to satisfying diversity requirements, white males were worth zero points, white females one point, black males one point and black females two points (one for their gender and one for their race). As a result, the departments developed and have retained to today this unspoken rule: To meet diversity quotas with the fewest hires, it is much better to hire black women than black men.
By the mid 1980s, blue-collar jobs started to head overseas as the nation developed a service-based economy. This devastated the only area of our economy outside of government where black men were proportionately employed. The alternative of going white collar was made difficult because affirmative action actually worked against them.
Fast-forwarding to today, if our best answer to problems in the black community is for black women to "forget black men and marry outside the race," it will only throw black men and the black community as a whole further under the bus. The solution lies in bringing manufacturing jobs back to America and in removing the unintended but powerful antiblack male component of affirmative action.
Although unintended, our policies for the last 40 years have been antimarriage in a manner that has devastated our African-American population and are now on the way to devastating the nonblack population as well. As citizens we must demand of government that it take great care in what problems it attempts to solve, how it defines those problems, how it measures the success of its solutions, and how well it watches for and fixes unintended consequences.
Robert Silverman, Wimauma
Walking away with $50K | Oct. 7
Look to the administrators
Florida law establishes the right of a school district to provide terminal pay for unused sick leave and caps the amount of such compensation for district instructional staff and educational support employees. The intent of the law was to provide an incentive for teachers to stay in the profession and for them to not utilize their sick leave, except when absolutely necessary. Why? Because when teachers are out sick, a substitute is required in that classroom. There is a cost for the substitute teacher and a loss, in many cases, of learning in the classroom during the teacher's absence.
If you analyze the article, it is apparent that the real issue is the cost of this benefit for administrative personnel. Of the 19 listed in the "$100,000 Club," 17 were administrators. The two teachers in the "club" would have accrued 30 years' worth of unused sick leave to be eligible for this "club." I believe they earned every penny of that benefit.
Administrators do not require substitutes so they can go to a medical appointment during their workday. A large percentage of administrators, who work 12-month contracts, earn additional terminal pay for unused vacation that adds thousands of dollars to their payout. School boards have the power to address the level of terminal payout for administrators and should do so.
The average payout is just over $10,000 and that includes all the payouts for the administrative "club" members as well as the much smaller payouts for teachers and support staff. Do not punish those for whom the law was established.
Marshall Ogletree, Palm Harbor
Reading between the lines
The underlying message of this article is obvious. Attention school district employees: Use all of your vacation and sick leave time while you're still working. Don't get punished for not being sick.
Lance Lubin, St. Petersburg
Sick day policy not sustainable Oct. 9, editorial
Classes must go on
This editorial says banking sick leave is an expensive perk. But if a teacher takes a sick day, he or she has to get a substitute. It's not like the private sector where you can come back the next day and make up your work. You can't cancel classes — someone has to stand in front of your children.
So not only do you have to pay for the teacher being sick, you have to pay for a sub to be there, costing the district more each time a teacher is sick.
D. Burnside, Treasure Island
Protest reaches Tampa | Oct. 7
See for yourself
I went to the Occupy Tampa protest. I did not see any communists, anarchists or people trying to overthrow the U.S. government. What I did see were young people scared about their futures, middle class workers, and business men and women. I saw people who have lost their jobs and homes. I saw people mad that none of those who caused this mess and broke laws are in jail.
I met old people scared to death that Republicans will take away their benefits. I spoke to people who were mad that the government bailed out the banks and left the rest of us out to dry. The crowd was peaceful and respectful to law enforcement. There were tea party people walking in solidarity with people of all colors and faiths. The people were angry at both parties for playing politics.
It opened my eyes to how some elements of the media demonize these demonstrations. I am glad I went. You can't see the truth about things unless you get off the couch.
Peter Serrano, Tampa
Middle class is fed up
The recent occupation of Wall Street and other sites around the country exemplify the level of anxiety and distrust that people are feeling. It was extremely satisfying to read that this occupation had reached the streets of Tampa. Not all of the protesters were young and in tie-dyed shirts; many were in suits or business attire.
What the country and the world are witnessing is that the middle classes are fed up and will not take it anymore. One of the freedoms that we are guaranteed is the freedom to assemble and speak — at least until the 1 percent gets more control.
Mark L. Grantham, Gulfport
Friend of Perry a biblical bully | Oct. 11, Daniel Ruth column
Respect the Mormons
As a conservative I rarely, if ever, agree with Daniel Ruth. However, I try to keep an open mind and do read his columns.
This column on the Mormon Church was right on. I am not a Mormon but have many friends who are, and two of my grown daughters joined the church several years ago. I have always been deeply impressed with their dedication to God, family and country. As a church they do believe in Jesus Christ. Others would do well in learning more about them as opposed to criticizing them.
Robert L. Matthews, Tampa