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County school system is breeding mediocrity

Editor: My family has lived in Pasco County for the last four years. In that time, I've kept abreast of ever-changing school policies. In the last four years, the School Board has: 1. Eliminated a successful band program from (some) elementary schools.

2. Eliminated mid-term and final exams from the high school curricula.

3. Eliminated a successful developmental kindergarten program.

4. Eliminated any kind of spelling curricula until a student reaches third grade.

5. Eliminated (traditional A-B-C) letter grades entirely from the elementary schools. In its place will be a system that already has proven a failure in a neighboring county.

6. Allowed seniors to walk through the graduation ceremony even if they had not completed all the requirements for graduation.

As the parent of an elementary school student and a staff member at Hudson High School, I am appalled. Where is the accountability? Students are no longer accountable for grades because there are none, there is no retention, and there are no exams. Students must no longer strive to compete academically against their peers because their progress will be judged on the merit of their own achievements. Teachers, at one time accountable for the creation of exams and the justification of grades, are now "portfolio" keepers. (The new report card states that the teacher will keep a portfolio of your child's work.)

The system is breeding mediocrity, or worse, a system of unexceptional students, as evidenced by the recent results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test wherein Florida placed fifth lowest in the nation. Students no longer must strive for excellence. Is it any wonder that students are not able to set and achieve realistic goals? The "outside world" will not pass them along simply because they are trying their hardest.

To the School Board: Before you sequester yourselves behind closed doors again to dictate policy that affects the lives of our children, please talk to the community. You might be surprised by what you hear.

Joanne Giglio, New Port Richey

Voters will remember commissioners

Editor: So Mike Wells is not going to seek re-election? I think he has seen the handwriting on the wall. Voters no longer will accept having their needs and desires ignored to satisfy big businesses, like insurance companies, developers and incinerator owners.

On Nov. 6 the voters in Pasco County voted out Mr. Safranek and Mr. Law for this same reason. We put these commissioners in office to serve the people and they thumbed their nose at us!

If there is anyone out there that believes we have forgotten about it in 1992, you're living in a dream world. The campaign in 1992 should be interesting. It will find me attending each appearance Sylvia Young and Ann Hildebrand make, with the same sign I used in '90; "When You Need a Vote" call Wayne O'Brien _ State Farm.

Let's see, that's three down _ and two to go!

Jennie Kranak, Port Richey

Second-hand smoke is just as deadly

Editor: G. Samkofsky claims he can't understand why so many people here are dying of cancer (Letters 6/7/91). If he would eat in restaurants as often as I do and observe the elderly people smoking and coughing and also emptying the salt shaker on their food, he might learn why they die of cancer. I quit smoking and using a salt shaker 20 years ago. My wife and I say that if I could stop smoking (three packs a day) then anyone can stop smoking. Second-hand smoke can give cancer too.

Arthur R. Mitchell, New Port Richey

Middle-class gets tapped from all ends

Editor: In the Tampa section an article appeared about a local New Port Richey lady who had to use a taxicab to go to Dade City to her doctor.

I'm not against Medicaid when necessary, but I'm disgusted with a system that pays for this sort of abuse of the system.

I don't know the rates of a taxi company, but I do hear how expensive they are when used locally.

The husband does work and we know some employers do not provide health insurance and private carriers are out of reach. But wouldn't it be wiser to think about using some type of birth control?

I'll probably receive a lot of comments against that last remark. Let those who criticize me offer a better and cheaper way to get this lady to a doctor in Dade City other than a taxi at the taxpayers' expense.

If you're rich, you don't need help. If you're poor, you get help. Where does the middle-class citizen go?

Marie Wolownek, Port Richey

What's in a name is often important

Editor: While the Times coverage of the recent finding of two cars and a body in a sinkhole on the outskirts of Hudson was commendable, the natives are still wondering where in the world you ever picked up the erroneous name for the site and called it "Palm Sink." Perhaps some Snowbird or Yankee Transplant dreamed up that name. But the old-timers are perturbed, because there doesn't happen to be a native Florida palm tree within sight of this sinkhole.

I have been told by a native and longtime resident of Hudson that as far back as she can remember it has always been known as Wildcat Pond. Before the invention of the automobile, it was a favorite courtin' place for amorous Hudsonites and a place where young men enjoyed walking, arm-in-arm, with their lady friends. Oh yes, there are many fond memories in Hudson of Wildcat Pond and, quite naturally, many folks are interested in the retention of that time-honored name.

It's amazing and, sometimes disgusting, how some folks never are satisfied with anything, not even with the original names of many of our landmarks and are always trying to change them, isn't it?

J.R. Hiser, Hudson

A few tips to restaurant patrons

Editor: Bravo to Linda Hummel. Her letter concerning the rudeness of restaurant patrons in this area was right on target. My wife and I dine out frequently, and we have often observed the same thing. We also noticed the large number of tightwads who demand the most service and leave paltry tips. They are the reason a lot of restaurants print on their checks, "Does not include gratuity" or others add 15 percent to the bill.

Sort of reminds me of the chronic complainer who was driving a waitress nuts with her unreasonable demands. "Why is it," she yelled, "I never get what I ask for here?" The waitress looked at her and replied, "Perhaps, madam, it's because we're too polite."

Richard E. McGoldrick, Holiday

A special thanks to a fine musician

Editor: The following is the feelings of many people who have lost the joy of listening to a great entertainer, Geno Martino, who died on May 28, 1991.

His legal name was Eugene Geuzio, but to all that knew him as a friend and professional musician his name was Geno Martino.

Thanks, Geno, for bringing happiness to so many that came to hear your music and rekindle their dreams.

Geno Martino, a great musician and entertainer, always saying the right thing at the right time. You have left us now, but your music and your kindness will always be remembered.

The personal touch was what really counted, Geno. You never failed to mention each of us by our names sometime during the evening, and that meant an awful lot to each of us.

You always knew when we needed cheering and through your songs and music our troubles would be forgotten. You never failed to bring a smile to even the ones that were despondent and lonely.

Everybody needs someone to be thankful for, and each day of our life we are aware of it more. For the joy of enjoying and the fullness of living are found only in hearts like Geno's, that is filled with love and giving.

We thank God for people like you, Geno. He has taken you from us but you will always be in our hearts.

Love, from all your friends in Orangewood Lakes Mobile Home Park.

Leota Huffman, New Port Richey

Insurance for bus bill is costly

Editor: In letters dated June 7 to the Pasco Times, Cindy Kuhn, director of the Boys and Girls Club of New Port Richey, states that a 47-seat bus was purchased for the club, with Community Development Block Grant funds. This bus probably sat in the parking lot while the children were in school and was used on weekends only. It will be used for the summer months while the children are out of school.

Meanwhile, others like the senior citizens, young mothers with children, older teen-agers who work, people between the ages of 21 and 60, who do not drive, have no means of transportation other than the STAR system and PATS. These two systems do not serve the bulk of the population. They mostly serve the elderly that are severely or mildly incapacitated. But, we, the people, have to resort to running our own transit system, with our money. Just when ridership was picking up, the owner receives a letter from the insurance company advising him that his insurance premium is now $5,000, and not $1,700 as quoted, for a 14-passenger van. No way could we afford it; we do not get any grants.

I wonder who is paying for insurance on the 47-seat bus, or are they driving without any like a lot of other people in Pasco County?

Mary Hurney, Port Richey

Share your views

The Pasco Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length (250-300 words maximum as a rule).

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address. Addresses will not be printed.

Anonymous letters or letters with initials only will not be printed.

Send your letter to Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey 34668.

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