Boston Marathon bombings
Government gets the job done
I just wanted to say how thankful I am for all branches of our government. The Boston tragedy gave us a great glimpse what our taxes pay for. It also shows that a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" is how a government should work.
The last few days, I saw civilians and their government working together for a common cause. The results show just how intertwined the people and their government should be.
When I hear people talk about how bad our government is or act as though it's a separate entity from them, it makes me wonder who they really want to govern them.
Jeff Hibbert, Wesley Chapel
Lesson to the world
The major message sent to the world since April 15 is "united we stand." The events that took place in Boston and Watertown told the world that when you attack any element of our country, we will pull together and take you down.
The events in Boston, and how every element of law enforcement and every resident in the area worked as one to bring these events to an end, show that we will unite and fight to assure we win. We all need to say thank you to all citizens for sending a message to the world: Do not mess with the United States of America.
Rich Prestera, Treasure Island
Level the playing field
When managed properly, the innovation and environment of excellence evident in a well-run charter school produces stellar results. Superior student outcomes are the goal of any good district-run or charter school, but the one factor that often becomes an obstacle is funding. Although by design charter schools can and must produce better outcomes for less cost, there also must be equity in that arrangement.
A traditional district-run school receives local taxes to build schools. That funding is over and above the taxes it receives for educating students. In an attempt to level the playing field, the Legislature put into place a capital outlay fund to be divided among charter schools to help with facilities. The disparity between the two is an impediment to student success.
District-run schools generate $1,140 per student for facilities, which translates on average to more than $1 million per school. The 579 charter schools must share in a fund of approximately $55.2 million, which amounts to about $272 per student and an average of $95,337 per school.
We must stop arguing about charter vs. district-run schools and start focusing on what is best for students. By leveling the playing field and providing equitable funding for all schools, the long-running debate about whether district-run schools or charter schools are better will be decided.
At the end, the results are likely to be clear that a well-run and properly managed charter school will be better for some students, and a well-run, properly managed district-run school will be better for others.
The bottom line is that different learning environments work better for different students. Charter schools are here to stay. Let's fund all schools properly so that all children benefit and succeed. After all, that should be the goal of every public school, district-run or charter.
Jay Wheeler, chairman, Osceola County School Board; chairman, Four Corners Charter School Board; chairman, Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition, Kissimmee
Bill would remedy inequity
How would you like to train someone just hired for the same job, who makes more than you do? It happens all the time to women. I worked as a computer operator earning less than the man I was training who had the same title. I spoke up and received an increase, but it wasn't the last time I ended up paid less than men doing the same exact job.
A smaller paycheck doesn't just impact your current circumstances. Social Security benefits are based on your earnings, meaning women can live in poverty for their entire lives.
When will the wage gap between working men and women close? The Institute for Women's Policy Research says not until 2057. According to the IWPR, "Women, on average, earn less than men in virtually every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio."
In the U.S. Senate, S 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act, will help victims of wage discrimination with more effective ways to challenge the practice. In addition, companies won't be able to stop employees from sharing details about their pay.
I urge everyone to write to Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and ask them to co-sponsor this act. Let's keep our families self-sufficient by righting this wrong and achieving pay equity.
Elaine Togneri, New Port Richey
How soon they forget | April 19, editorial
Highlight money's role
Kudos to your paper for posting pictures of all the legislators who voted against background checks for gun buyers. The only thing missing was the amount underneath each legislator's picture showing how much each received from the NRA to vote the way they did.
It would be great if you would run this same article every day during the couple weeks leading up the Election Day. How dare they forget those angels in Newtown, Conn.
Paul Moczydlowsky, Largo
Portraits in cowardice
I applaud your editors' decision to simply juxtapose photos of the Sandy Hook murder victims with the 45 smiling, cowardly senators who voted against expanding background checks for gun buyers. One picture is worth a thousand words … although in this case it's 26.
Sara Baker, Tampa
Boy Scouts board calls for dual track on gays April 20
Dual track dilemma
As a lover of well-crafted public relations language designed to defend the indefensible, I look forward to the moment a few years from now when Boy Scouts of America has to explain to the public why its first gay Eagle Scout can't serve as a scout master as an adult.
Andrew McAlister, Tampa