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Teach your kids to think critically | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP ]
Published Apr. 24

Think for yourself

DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities | April 19

There is so much worry about perceived indoctrination of our kids by agenda-laden teachers, math books, CNN, etc. The solution is easy: teaching your kids to think critically serves them well. We always encouraged our kids to think critically, question everything and see if any idea seems reasonable. Rather than trying to shield kids from subjects such as slavery (and societies’ role in its historical effects even today) or any one of a dozen ideas, I encourage parents to have their kids seek out information from many sources. Our kids should learn about capitalism, socialism, Marxism, comparative religions, slavery and feminist issues, to name just a few. Teach them how to analyze what they are learning and form their own opinions. Those lessons will last a lifetime so they may analyze when something doesn’t pass the “sniff test.”

Far from indoctrinating our kids, exposing them to different ideas at an early age encourages curiosity in the world around them. It creates citizens of the world with skills they will no doubt need in this increasingly partisan landscape of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Knowledge is power. Better to have learned kids interested in discussing at the dinner table what they learned at school to understand it better than a bunch of sycophants who do not question what they are spoon-fed at the trough of misinformation.

Thomas M. Schaefer, Madeira Beach

A red wave is coming

Gov. DeSantis’ congressional map stacks the deck for Republicans | Editorial, April 20

I never cared about sexual orientation or gender identity, until it started getting shoved down my throat. I never cared about the color of people’s skin, until I started getting blamed for all of the problems in our country because of the color of mine. I never cared much about other’s political affiliations until I was called a deplorable for mine. I never cared about ethnicity or where people were from, until the woke movement started to erase my history and blame my ancestry for their failures. I never cared if others’ beliefs differed from mine until I was told that mine are wrong. Now that I care, now that you have my attention, my patience and tolerance are gone. And I am not alone. There are millions of us who feel this way, and you are going to hear from us in November. There is a red wave coming.

Charles Michael Sitero, Ormond Beach

A master of projection

DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities | April 19

Despots are masters of projection. They blame their enemies for what they themselves do. Gov. Ron DeSantis desperately wants to control the minds of Florida’s school children. Thus, he blames the teachers and professors for doing precisely that as he attempts to control what they teach or say. He harangues that his actions are all to protect the school children from “indoctrination” and “intellectual orthodoxy.” This is all nonsense, and he knows it. DeSantis doesn’t want open-mindedness or intellectual debate in schools. The governor loves his orthodoxy. If not, why have his judicial nominees all been members of the Federalist Society, a legal club that shares a single judicial orthodoxy?

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I am 75 and I’ve seen this before. During the Cold War, the Legislature made us take a course, Americanism vs. Communism. It was totally unnecessary. We were for America before and after. But it was good for the politicians. It didn’t change any minds.

I have faith this gambit won’t work for DeSantis and the far right, either. Kids grow up and start thinking for themselves. The reputation of Florida’s universities will suffer some from the tenure bill, but the professors will keep doing what they’ve done since Plato. They will keep opening the minds of students to other views, other thoughts, other cultures. As they should.

Wayne Thomas, Temple Terrace

Let’s end tenure ... for DeSantis

DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities | April 19

I’m a retired tenured professor from a Florida public university. Philosophically, I believe tenure is worth reexamination. But based upon past and current positions on a host of issues, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ motivation is clearly political and devoid of any interest in examining the pros and cons of the concept of job security. In other words, facts be damned. As a practical matter, tenure serves as an important job benefit in the non-profit world of academia. In exchange for job security and the opportunity to do outside consulting — with many checks and balances in place to prevent conflicts or misuse — universities, students and the state benefit from the skills and service of experts who might make a lot more money in the private sector. Additionally, attracting world class faculty to Florida will be further negatively impacted when competing public and private schools elsewhere routinely provide the opportunity for tenure without the political interference of thinkers like DeSantis and pals. I urge Floridians concerned with education at all levels to make sure the tenure of DeSantis and his ilk is short lived.

David Nathanson, Tampa

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