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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Florida teachers speak out

These letters recently appeared in the Florida Times Union. -cpg


Please act soon

To Florida legislators and Gov. Rick Scott:

Would you please hurry up and pass your educational funding bills that will leave Duval County Schools $97 million short so that we teachers will pay our own medical insurance, 5 percent of our pension, lose our supplements and take up to 20 days off on furlough?

That way, my wife and I, who are both public school teachers, and other teachers can put our houses up for sale, move to low-income housing and apply for reduced and free lunch for our own school-aged children before the start of the next school year.

Nathan Shoemaker, teacher, Jacksonville Beach


Stick with science

I was extremely disappointed to see that one of our state senators is parroting the ignorance of the creationist movement.

We don't "teach both sides" of evolution in science classes because the consensus among scientists is overwhelming. Intelligent design is not science.

We don't offer equal time to holocaust deniers in history. We also don't teach alchemy alongside chemistry, geocentrism along with heliocentrism, four-humours theory alongside physiology, or bunk theories about aliens building pyramids alongside archaeological evidence.

All of these alternative theories have just as much basis in science as intelligent design.

But, of course, the ironically named Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, has demonstrated that he is stunningly misinformed about the topic of evolution, asking if "humans came from apes why there are still apes" when the answer should be obvious to anyone who has cousins or siblings. Evolution doesn't say apes turned into humans, it says that modern apes and humans have a common ancestor.

I was very thankful and impressed with Ron Littlepage's column, which summed up the rest of my opinion nicely.

Wise is an enemy of public education and teachers - and an ally to the forces of ignorance.

Richard Jones, Jacksonville


Now that's motivation

According to a recent article in the Times-Union, state Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, justified his support of a bill that denies tenure to teachers by saying, "if I was guaranteed a job I would be very happy; I work very hard because I don't want to lose my job."

Is he kidding or did he just forget that he was given his current job by his Republican cronies?

He was not elected, and he does not have to do anything to merit his salary or to keep his job for two more years. He is beholden to the big money backers of the Republican Party and not to the people of Florida. His gall and callousness is overwhelming

Gov. Rick Scott; Davis; Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine; Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville; and their cohorts in Tallahassee want to cut public education funding to the bone and make teachers the scapegoats for the failed school system.

Brand-new teachers will be expected to produce results immediately or lose their jobs. Teachers will have to "merit" raises, but based on what criteria? Money for salary increases has not been funded, so is it the general consensus in Tallahassee that not a single teacher will succeed?

According to Davis, this legislation will result in "very, very highly motivated teachers." Actually, what it will result in is overworked, underpaid insane teachers. Who in their right mind would want to be a teacher in Florida?

I know many wonderful teachers. I have also known a few that needed to move on, but I have never known anyone to go into teaching because of a desire for power, perks, fame or fortune.

The same can not be said of most politicians.

Debra Maddox, Jacksonville


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