Friday, May 25, 2018
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

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Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

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Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

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Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18