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Letters to the editor: The occupiers

Published: October 16, 2013

The occupiers

This country’s initial Congress was composed of representatives from all walks of life and livelihoods who, after serving the people on a part-time basis, returned to their primary occupations — farmers, doctors, tradesmen, soldiers, etc. These framers of our Constitution expected this diverse makeup and part-time approach to be the future of our Congress. Today we have a Congress that has, at its core and majority, lawyers who have turned elected office into an occupation. When push comes to shove, no longer do we see “profiles in courage,” but rather these occupiers putting holding their “jobs” ahead of the best interests of the people.

Combined with the rigging of election districts, the seemingly insurmountable task of establishing term limits greatly equates with giving tenure to these job-holders. How to escape this whirlpool and return to a system that operates through open debate and compromise that is founded on the best interest of the people and the country seems an overwhelming challenge when seen in the light of today’s intransigent players, whether Boehner, Reid, their ilk, or sadly, our president.

The elections in 2014 and 2016, in this man’s opinion, are a chance to begin the return to the expectations of our Founders. Holding elected office, at the state or federal level, is not a job, it is a privilege — a privilege bestowed by the people.

Tom Iaquinta


The value of spelling

Regarding Common Core standards:

I am all for bringing the United States up to speed with other countries in regards to education, especially in English and math, but I have not heard one word regarding the simple concept of spelling. I cannot believe how many kids today cannot spell simple words and just rely on spell-checker to fix their mistakes. Knowing the main idea and supporting details of a story/article is great for critical thinking, but when people see others not being able to spell, especially adults, it spells DUNCE for all to see.

Sorry to say, but misspelled words make one seem uneducated all in itself.

Dianne Rothenbuehler


Education and the feds

In regards to the debate over Common Core, I would like to know several things: 1. What is Florida’s responsibility under this program today? 2. What will Florida’s responsibilities be in the future? 3. and 4. The same two questions for costs. And, most importantly, 5. Will this subject Florida’s education system to creeping and expanding control by the federal government?

Everyone keeps talking about how good and useful the standards are, but few talk about how the program will work. This makes me suspicious. Haven’t we seen this before, when federal programs with good goals were used to expand federal control and over time lead to less than desirable results?

The best and most fitting example is how the education levels of our kids have gone down as the federal involvement in education grew. I can remember when an average graduate of most public high schools was educated, went to college or got jobs with little additional training other than job-specific training. Today, an average public high school graduate is in need of remedial reading, writing, and arithmetic before being able to work or go to college.

James Frick


Common Core and profits

Regarding “Move decisively on Common Core” (Views, Oct. 13): In her column pushing Common Core standards, Hillsborough County School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia states: “The standards (Common Core) grew out of the belief that the nation’s schools can, and must do better.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The hidden motive that Elia is not revealing is that Common Core is about profit, not education.

This is how it works. Schools with low scores are labeled “F.” Many of these F schools have many families living in poverty. Private companies, under this nonprofit pretext, then open new charter schools that siphon public tax dollars into private corporate pockets instead of fixing what was wrong with the pubic school.

Common Core Standards were developed using big money from the Bill Gates Foundation and then implemented by the federal government. Elia, as school superintendent, received $100 million from the Bill Gates Foundation for Hillsborough schools. When Common Core is implemented in Florida this will greatly change how and what is tested, which will lead to greater failure rates on tests. This is exactly the plan of the charter school reformers who stand to line their pockets with taxpayer money at the educational expense of the children they say they are trying to help.

James Wisner


A dead issue

Regarding “Maybe we need a prime minister” (Views, Oct. 13): To suggest that there are parallels between our Civil War and the current crisis in Washington demonstrates a lack of understanding of historical perspective. The Civil War was fought over economic and social differences between an industrial North and an agrarian South. The two sides differed in their interpretation of the role of slavery in our Constitution. In contrast, today’s war is between those who seek to preserve and protect that Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees and those who seek to replace our republic system with a system that ignores our Constitution and puts our liberties in jeopardy of overreaching government control. These are not even close to being equivalent battles.

I do agree that politics is the art of compromise, but we haven’t see compromise since the days of Clinton and Gingrich. This ideologically driven administration “will not negotiate,” which leaves compromise a dead issue and solutions to our nation’s problems impossible.

Josef Horowitz