Letters to the Editor for Oct. 10, 2012

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.

Religious schools vs. public schools

Much has been written complaining about proposed Amendment 8 and the possibility that taxpayer funded vouchers might be used by students from failing public schools to attend religious schools.

On March 25, The Sun reported that Alachua County's graduation rate by “the newest federal tabulation, it's ... just under 64 percent.”

Using various authors' argument that the government can't use tax dollars “on religion” is ludicrous. If that's the case, then how can tax dollars fund over 90 classes on religion this fall at UF or build the National Cathedral in Washington, DC?

And, it's even more ludicrous to argue that charter schools aren't held to the same standards as public schools, when the public school “standard” is to fail 36 percent of its students!

It's a sad society that cares more about paranoia about religion than a quality education for over a third of our children.

Ben Butler,


Events outside the school matter too

I notice that respondents commenting on recently released SAT scores have focused on how well Alachua County students tested compared with national and state peers, but I draw attention to the drop from prior years' higher test results.

My guess is that, historically, student test scores decline during recessions due to economic pressures on families that have direct negative consequences on individual students' abilities to study: stress at home from loss of parental job, interrupted health care, inadequate food/medicine/dental care, and even homelessness.

Add in those drastic GOP cuts to the education budget over the past couple years that reduced the numbers of teachers and support staff so that class sizes have grown. Do people not expect those cuts to have an impact?

Citizens need to consider such matters when voting for candidates whose education platform centers on cut and gut.

Michele Gifford,


Just say no to all 11 amendments

All 11 amendments on the ballot were placed there by the state Legislature for narrow partisan purposes.

The state constitution defines the structure of our government. It should not be amended for targeted specific issues that then will be almost impossible to modify.

Most of the proposed amendments provide tax exemptions and limits, which benefit special groups and harm the general welfare.

Others attack the balance of power, separation of church and state, and right to privacy. They are a power grab by the Florida Legislature, and should not be part of the fundamental constitution.

James R. Desjardin,


Two cliches say it all about the 1st debate

Americans who watched President Obama debate Gov. Romney observed these two cliches that are worth remembering in the voting booth: “There is no there there,” and “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

Harold B. Wilber,

Lake City

Knee-jerk reaction at Union Correctional

In regards to the called for investigation of an inmate death at Union Correctional Institution: It seems to me that top management jumped the gun on taking action against staff before completion of the investigation.

Having served the DOC for 37 years before retirement, I'm familiar with management's knee-jerk reaction to situations like this. Unfortunately this is standard: When something happens that brings unwanted attention, blame someone and make it appear that management did the right thing.

I'm personally acquainted with most of the staffers who were replaced or transferred over this matter. While I don't have any first hand knowledge of the incident itself, I don't think the warden, assistant wardens or chief correctional officer had anything to do with the inmate's death, and more than likely followed all procedures and rules in handling the matter.

Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker should review this matter.

Jack Sapp,

Warden (retired)

Lake Butler

Jeering at hurt players is classless

Thousands in the stands were jeering opponents while they lay injured on Florida Field. This disgraceful display of ignorant immaturity occurred three times during the LSU game.

Suspecting injury faking is risky. Booing a player when you aren't 100 percent sure leaves yourself open to being a classless fool. And classless fools they were as they jeered a player who broke his ankle, and booed the star LSU defensive player who took himself out for a series as if he would do that purposely.

However, my message is to those sitting near the fools. If you care about UF's reputation, it is your responsibility to stand up and do something.

When Texas A&M fans did it to UF, I was there voicing my displeasure. I did the same this past Saturday with Florida fans. I implore all of you who care about UF to stand up and stop this.

John Beaufait,


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