Letters to the Editor - April 1

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.

Senator's bill is not helpful

The major headline in today's Sun was a stunner: “Senate bill may say UF is Florida's elite school.” For a moment, I thought I might have been translated back to the 1970s. It made me wince.

Because I'm sure she could not have known what she was doing, someone should tell Senator Lynn her bill is not helpful.

Someone needs to explain to her, first, that universities become “elite” (or whatever it is that she wants for the University of Florida) not because the legislature says it is, but because of what its faculty and graduates have achieved and contributed to the larger community over a long period of years.

Then someone needs to explain to her that her proposal could conceivably cause the legislature to waste a whole lot of time and money arguing over a proposal that in the final analysis won't accomplish a damn thing. I recommend she withdraw it.

George Bedell


Mayoral race thank-you

I would like to thank all of the people who supported me in my recent mayoral campaign. I met so many wonderful people and heard about their concerns.

There is a lot of spirit out there. I will continue to be watchful and would like to continue to contribute to the discussion about how to solve our problems and do what's best for our whole community. The distinction between the remaining two candidates is clear. I hope the city's citizens will study those differences while becoming involved in the election process.

I appreciated the opportunity to be involved, and for the show of confidence in me, I am very grateful.

Monica Leadon Cooper

Encourage others to teach underacheivers

Rewarding teaching excellence is desirable, but measuring it poses problems. I never met one of my favorite teachers, Frank McCourt, who wrote “Angela's Ashes” and “Teacher Man.”

He taught in a New York vocational school and brought life to his classes. It is doubtful that these kids could have scored as high on a standardized test as a class from Scarsdale, but their relative achievements could easily outweigh those of their of more fortunate counterparts. We need to encourage our best teachers to accept the challenge to teach in underachieving schools.

Paying them less money because their students score lower on standardized tests makes no sense at all.

Nath Doughtie


Sex talk should be reserved for parents

This morning, my husband found a note on my daughter's car at Gainesville High School where she attends the Cambridge Program. Apparently, they're having a “Health Week” at the school. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except that Planned Parenthood will have a booth and there's going to be an STD assembly. That means “Sexually Transmitted Disease” for the uninitiated.

I don't have a problem with the school teaching my daughter about good health practices that include eating a good diet and having an exercise plan. I do object to total strangers teaching my daughter about a very personal matter that is none of their business.

I reserve the right to teach my child about sex. She is still a minor and I am appalled that I had to read about this “Health Week” from a piece of paper stuck on my daughter's car instead of being contacted directly by the school.

Eunice Coughlin


Florida educators are not miracle workers

For the past 31 years, I have had the honor of being an educator across our nation. I have had high expectations for my students at whatever grade level I've taught. So, let me get this straight. Some of our legislators want to reward me according to how my students do on standardized tests?

I'm assuming that they do not intend to take into consideration the fact that I have students who are consistently tardy, as well as those who are consistently checked out of my class before the end of the school day, during math. Then there are those who are absent but don't get around to getting their make-up work completed. What about those who have a week to study 15 spelling words but aren't prepared when the test is given? Let's not forget those who daily disrupt my class by their aggressive, inappropriate behaviors — resulting in all instruction coming to a standstill while the rest of my students wait for me to handle the behavior. Let's talk about the number of unreturned phone calls and notes I send to parents requesting parent conferences, with no response. Or how about those occasional parents who request another teacher because my expectations are too high, as opposed to theirs for their child?

Funny thing is some of these legislators mandating that Florida educators become miracle workers are the same ones we've had the honor of educating. What went wrong?

Jane Crawford


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