Thursday, December 14, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Low expectations plague schools

Padded grades still fall | July 27

Low expectations plague schools

I think it is long overdue that we, as a society, take a hard look at the 800-pound gorilla in the classroom. Specifically, the role that parents and students must shoulder in the public education system.

The state education commissioner, Gates Foundation and whoever else can test and evaluate teachers and school administrations forever. If the results don't change, then they will change the measurement criteria. As your article quotes, the decline in school grades is a result of increased expectations. It seems that a majority of parents and students are perfectly content with low expectations.

I would like to see some realistic, confidential feedback on this subject from area teachers printed in your newspaper. They are on the public education front line. Teachers and school administrators cannot and should not be held solely responsible for declining school grades.

David Cardina, Tampa

Padded grades still fall | July 27

Expect more from students

The reason "padded grades still fall" is obvious. The students quickly figure out that the system is being gamed and act accordingly by doing the minimum they can to get by. When they are held to high standards, they perform better.

I crashed into this "brick wall" many years ago when I taught science at Buchanan Junior High School and was ordered to send final exams in to the school system to be "curved." When the "curve" came back, giving an exam score of 50 percent a passing grade of D, I got mad and made an appointment to see Walter Sickles, Hillsborough superintendent of schools, and complained. I told him that we could not lie to the public like that; that we were not doing the students any favors by letting them skate; that if you accept less, they will do less. He nodded a lot, but didn't say much. It was like punching a marshmallow and, of course, my efforts were fruitless.

I must add that I was already a military retiree and could afford to risk losing my teaching position. Nothing happened. The French have a saying that translates to: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I am 80 and still angry. Don't blame the teachers for a system that is failing them, their students, their parents and the public.

Joseph F. Bohren, Odessa

Scott stands ground on law | July 29

More tragedies looming

A tourist walks into a bar. The young professional, perhaps German or British, is having a good time and drinks a beer or three too many. He gets into a bar fight and his opponent, this being Florida, is armed and shoots the tourist dead.

The shooter is set free after invoking "stand your ground." Later on we see the young widow in front of the news cameras, surrounded by her two children, telling the world in her lovely accent about that awful place that allowed her children to lose their father and let the murderer walk free. This hasn't happened yet. Is that what it's going to take to get rid of this unnecessary, murderous law?

Pablo Rottenberg, Temple Terrace

Stroke death prompts state inquiry | July 27

Failure of authorities

My heart goes out to the family of Allen Hicks Sr. Not only did this man suffer a massive stroke but a total lack of sympathy and good judgment from the Hillsborough County jail system. Common sense should have told the arresting officer something was wrong when the man was unable to speak or move his left side. But he was then thrown into a cell and on the floor for 36 hours lying in his own urine?

This kind of thing unfortunately happens when you let a subpar company come in with minimally trained employees. I guess you get what you pay for.

The state of Florida needs to go back to the days when deputies transported inmates and a registered nurse examined all the intakes. If not, I am afraid we will be reading more of these kind of stories.

Jennifer Little, Largo

Mosaic pumps water to dilute waste | July 21

Abuse of resources

I give up. If Mosaic is pumping 70 million gallons a day from our aquifer (and returning polluted water to streams in its place), how can it matter if I turn off the water while I brush my teeth, or collect rainwater to use on my garden?

This is such an egregious abuse of public resources, and it is allowed by the fine folks at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. We have given away the farm.

Laura Vickers, Tampa

Skyway project seeks footing | July 7

Developers' dream

The proposed "land swap" agreement relating to the fragile Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve once again puts citizens in a losing position. Developers of this proposal will build a bayfront resort with condos, a restaurant, hotel and private residences in addition to a marina and Tahiti-style bungalows on pilings.

The decisionmakers in this process are the staff of the Division of State Lands, but our own governor, attorney general and the remainder of the Cabinet will make the final decision. This is a deal made in heaven for the developers, who will get premium property for almost nothing. Citizens take heed — write and call everyone and try to turn the tide on this pending "land swap."

Martha Hodge, Tampa

Fair of fantasy | July 28

Admirable young people

Last weekend I took my 17-year-old niece to the Metrocon anime convention in Tampa. Thousands attended, dressed in their favorite animation costumes, and enjoyed a spirit of togetherness and love for all things anime, including but not limited to Japanese pop music, animated cartoons, art and video games.

The majority, it appeared to me, were aged 12-21. They truly exemplified all things good in people. They were friendly, accepting, polite and inquisitive. I witnessed them say "excuse me" and "sorry" when bumping into people. I witnessed those in line making friends and asking each other about their costumes and games.

Every day we read in the paper some awful thing some teenager does, but what I saw last weekend was hope. I witnessed the good youth has to offer. Every one of their parents should be proud.

Nannette Worlinsky, St. Petersburg


Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17