Where is my state representative?
Recent headlines tell us that Florida legislators threaten to cut library aid, and a bill would allow educators to participate in student-led prayer. My question is, where is my state representative?
The Legislature is asking voters to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption for members of the U.S. military or military Reserves, the Coast Guard or its Reserve, or the Florida National Guard who receive a homestead exemption and were deployed in the previous year on active duty outside of the United States.
Where is my representative on this?
Nick Morana, Spring Hill
SB 6 will drive teachers away
Rising test scores in Florida prompted politicians to rejoice. Education Week ranked Florida schools eighth in the nation for educational quality, despite the fact Florida is ranked 31st in education spending! Why is it now that Florida politicians want to drive teachers out of the classroom by launching an assault on public education?
Senate Bill 6 is a slap in the face to all of the outstanding public school teachers across Florida who have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession and have produced learning gains that are the envy of the nation.
The bill threatens to push experienced teachers out of the classroom and place students in classrooms with teachers of little experience.
The bill would require that all teachers will be retained, certified and compensated based on student test scores. Years of experience and payment for types of degrees can no longer be used. Experience does not matter any longer.
Everyone, regardless of years of experience or degrees, will be paid the same base salary. Depending upon student performance, an additional performance bonus will be added the following year. Each year will be different depending upon how your previous students performed. For those who have an unsuccessful year, you might not be able to renewal your certificate, definitely a career-ending moment.
The bill penalizes school districts that even consider years of experience or degrees when determining compensation, reduction in force, or transfers. It mandates that teachers be issued probationary contracts for up to five years, then an annual contract every year after that.
It will increase testing for students (end of course exams for all subjects) and for teachers (additional certification requirements). Okay, first there is no compensation for levels of education (degrees) as stated above, but let's make them more certified. This is typical government thinking again.
So who's going to stay and teach our students? Long-term subs, low-paying contracted workers (not required to be certified), and those who will stay in education for a couple of years before changing career fields.
Students need to be held more accountable, not the teachers. If students do not wish to learn in a free public education system that has documented gains, then they and their parents should be homeschooled!
The sponsor of SB 6 is Sen. John Thrasher, who is also the chairman of the Florida Republican Party.
Ron Kramer, Spring Hill
Progress making inroads at the Sub | Dan DeWitt column, March 24
Contracts were legally bid
I take offense to your statement that the 1981 federal grant was "divvied up among white contractors." You should know the money that made it to the contracting stage was spent on awarded contracts that were legally bid; they certainly weren't appointed to white contractors as you imply.
I remember a portion of that grant going toward new potable water and fire lines south of what was then called Summit Road. I believe some sanitary sewer was built and the roads paved. I also remember numerous upgrades being performed to the actual housing in that area, too. The upgrade to resident housing was apparently more important to the people then than street lighting and storm drains. I'm sure if the federal government had granted an additional $13 million back then as you say is needed now, that the street lighting and storm drains would have already been built, too.
And since as you say, County Administrator David Hamilton didn't understand the "apathetic people of south Brooksville that in many cases wouldn't pick up the litter in their yards," I, too, am listening. I wish you would clarify this a bit for me also because I too have never understood.
This lack of picking up litter is why I have been against the installation of storm drains in south Brooksville.
If the litter continues to be dispersed as it has in the past this new storm drain will be no more than a huge garbage container constantly needing maintenance by the city of Brooksville.
At least now, the litter can actually be picked up out of the ditch. It won't be hidden out of sight as is with the sanitary sewage runoff along the Weeki Wachee River. This litter in the south Brooksville drainage ditch I believe to be a direct link to the algae bloom in Byster Lake.
I say that until the residents of south Brooksville can show that they can keep their newly paved and lighted streets clean of debris, there should not be new drainage culverts installed in that area.
Alan Daniel, Weeki Wachee