Sunday, May 27, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Voucher students are tested for gains

Voucher claims due for testing | Dec. 14, editorial

Voucher students tested for gains

Florida's public education system is so rich with learning options that last year 1.3 million students chose something other than their assigned neighborhood school. So the debate about how best to hold these diverse programs accountable for student progress is important.

Unfortunately, the manner in which the Times questioned testing for one of those programs — a Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students — was incomplete and misleading. While it is true scholarship students are not required to take the FCAT, that doesn't mean the test most of them take annually, the Stanford Achievement, is irrelevant. This test is considered the gold standard in national exams, and has now been administered for six years with two consistent findings: 1) The students choosing the scholarship were the lowest performers in their district schools; and 2) They are achieving the same test gains in reading and math as students of all incomes nationally.

The expansion of options such as magnet programs, charter schools, virtual schools and scholarships for low-income children strengthens public education. These options all undergo rigorous academic evaluation, and the new national Common Core standards will hopefully make comparative evaluations even easier for parents and the public.

Doug Tuthill, president, Step Up for Students, St. Petersburg

We've paid for safety net | Dec. 14, letters

Benefits can be canceled

We have been bamboozled, mainly by Democrats, with the attractive lie that Social Security is a paid-for insurance program run by the federal government and that we are assured (entitled to) our benefits. Untrue. In the 1960 case of Fleming vs. Nestor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that workers have no legally binding contractual rights to their Social Security benefits, and that those benefits can be canceled at any time.

Charles Palmer, Lutz

Anti-union law breaks hearts and backs Dec. 14, commentary

Keeping wages low

Dean Bakapoulos' article points to the fallacy that right-to-work legislation provides freedom to workers when the opposite is true. It is beyond serious debate that the GOP's anti-union laws playing out in several states are meant to suppress or destroy unions. Why? Because this depresses wages and benefits to increase the bottom line, not to mention muffling the unions' political voice.

Those critical of unions have never needed one. Those who support them must stay constantly involved to counter such potentially destructive political agendas.

Wayne Logsdon, Hernando

Rice decides to back down | Dec. 14

Public servant smeared

The Republicans can congratulate themselves on another successful Swiftboat smear operation. Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte have discredited an innocent and worthwhile American servant. Susan Rice has impeccable credentials for the office of secretary of state and has given exemplary service to the country.

The really horrible intelligence failure was the one that sent us to Iraq, resulting in the deaths of 4,000 Americans and countless many more Iraqis. I didn't hear a squawk from the good senators then.

Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg

Connecticut school killings

Guns don't make us safer

I am not satisfied with the failure of the White House and Congress to enact meaningful gun control in our country. Living in a state where 1 million of my neighbors carry concealed weapons does not make me proud.

We have many times the number of guns per citizen than other major nations. If more guns or concealed carry permits would make us safer, we would be the safest nation in the world. Instead, thousands of our citizens die every year due to gun violence.

Operating a car or an airplane requires rigorous testing, licensing and insurance. Owning a gun should require no less.

Steven Zeledon Sr., Ridge Manor

Three key changes

We need to take three critical steps to end this carnage.

First, ban semiautomatic weapons and weapons designed only to kill other people, and limit how much ammunition a person can purchase. Second, do a better job of identifying individuals who may be prone to violence and keep weapons out of their hands. Third, work at changing the violence-prone culture in this county. We immerse our children in violence through video games, movies and television. That has to change.

Sharon Moehle, Dunedin

Guns too easily available

The day after the horrendous massacre in a Connecticut elementary school, the Times ran an editorial with suggestions on how to stem gun violence. One proposal was to have Congress close the federal loophole that allows the purchase of handguns at gun shows without the required background checks. In the same edition, the newspaper ran 29 separate classified ads offering handguns for sale — no three-day waiting period, ID or background check needed.

Vince Cocks, St. Petersburg

Treat mental illness

The Newtown, Conn., shootings bring to the front two issues. One we won't have easy solutions for: gun ownership and gun control. But for the other issue — mental health disease and its treatment — we do have solutions. We have never done mental health programs well, but in 1980s we decided to drastically reduce funding for treatment programs or not to do support them at all.

Mental health disease is devastating. But just the same as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, it can be treated. Until we decide that mental health disease is well worth treating, we will continue to suffer preventable consequences.

Rick France, Tampa

Teachers should be armed

In light of a seeming epidemic of violence at schools, it would be wise to arm teachers with guns with instruction on how to use them. If that were the case, a criminal could be stopped before killing innocent children.

Lets face it, criminals will always have access to guns. It is the good people who need to have them in order to protect themselves, their families and especially our schoolchildren.

Shirley Volkert, Spring Hill

Comments

Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

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

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

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

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
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