Today's Letters: Teachers not lazy, but discouraged

Published April 10, 2007

As an elementary teacher of 30 years, primarily in Pasco County, I take offense at teachers being labeled lazy because they are upset at working so many extra hours. All teachers I know work longer than the 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. hours that are required under our contract. It is hard to remember a time that I did not go to school early, leave school late, take work home, and work on the weekends. As Pasco County jumps upon yet another bandwagon for progress, my after-hours work has also increased.

The Learning Focused Strategies are ideas that we already use in our classrooms on a daily basis. However, the School Board is now in the process of paying out $4.5-million of taxpayer money for what we already do. The strategies are simply reorganized in another way with added paperwork. These teachers are not lazy - frustrated maybe, but not lazy.

Polly Eskew, New Port Richey

Lack of discipline is major problem

With all the uproar regarding the Learning Focused Strategies, I am amazed that, despite trying to give the best education to our students, the single most important aspect is still being ignored: discipline.

Ten years ago, it was the minority that we were concerned with. Presently, respect is a thing of the past for the majority.

Inclusion classroom settings are just a joke. Children who have been excellent students with superior manners and morals are subjected to a virtual circus of behaviors. They witness that little to nothing is done regarding these students and their horrific attitudes. However, these same students are expected to learn and remain steadfast.

Parents need to ask their children to tell them the truth about what they encounter on a daily basis. Schools are houses of education, not an extension of their own houses where they can do whatever they please.

Discipline needs to be put into action with consequences that are carried out. It's called consistency. Parents need to parent and that is called accountability.

Accountability, behavior and consistency are the true ABCs. Without them, all of the money and all of the educational scenarios are truly a major waste of time.

Deborah Alpi, New Port Richey

Ask the teachers what they need

I, too, felt this $4.5-million new program is what most of us veteran teachers have been doing all along! I left Pasco County a year and a half ago to return home to Michigan only to find there were no teaching jobs there. I was fortunate to return a month ago to a teaching position here. That's when I was shown this LFS system and told it had to be visible in my classroom with its "essential question" and "word wall" vocabulary.

We are professionals, most of us with numerous degrees and countless hours of training. This seems to be nothing more than a glorified KWL without the vocabulary connections (K=Know, W=Want to know, L=Learned). In my classroom, lessons always begin with a question; sometimes the students generate that question, i.e. the essential question. The vocabulary is connected to the lesson; students create these lists and use them in their writing, spelling, and speaking. In other words this new program is the same thing with a new label and that seems to be the administrative draw.

No offense to Monica Verra, but how long was she in the mainstream/inclusion learning environment as a teacher? Wasn't she excited about the LFS system because it's what the county has been using?

Why not ask the professionals in the classrooms what they need? Why force something with more documentation and more searching for resources into an already crowded curriculum? Walk a day in a teacher's shoes before forcing more upon us and ask us what we need, don't tell us!

Carol A. Hess, Hudson

Former CEO was fair, had respect 

Good CEOs listen and care April 9 guest column

We've known Marc Yacht for many years. In my position as public health nurse at the Pasco County Health Department, he was my boss, and in his case, that word meant fairness and respect. (I guess now that he's retired, I can't be accused of apple-polishing.)

His recent column on attributes of CEOs, and his citing of a grocery store's treatment of a particular employee hit a nerve with him as with many of us. Their act was unconscionable. In the years, I've worked for him, I can say, though he couldn't, that he was an example of what it takes to care, what it takes to make an organization a cooperative effort, and what it takes to have true empathy for your employees. Perhaps that grocery store chain needs some input from our old CEO. You think?

Lilyan Dayton, New Port Richey

Managers driven by insecurity 

Good CEOs listen and care April 9 guest column

Treating employees with respect and kindness is a swell idea, but fails in practice because managers aren't social workers and parsons. Managers are driven by their obsession for the work, money, power - and insecurity. Mostly insecurity.

Through 50 years of working, I've never met a manager who didn't devoutly believe he was a kind and benevolent master.

Managers get picked for their jobs because they're insecure, slavish, docile, and sycophants. Administrators and directors and vice presidents prefer managers who are a bit dull and unrefined. I mean, no one wants to train their replacement. God created managers to do the heavy lifting, and administrators to do the heavy thinking. Employees and customers are nuisances.

James B. Johnson, Port Richey

Konings carry on family tradition 

Building a life stitch by stitch April 6 story

I read with great interest the story about Rhonda and Bob Koning. What a great tribute to the Koning family to have kept the historic house and property, and to be using it today to carry on the family's quilting tradition.

It's also interesting that Bob's grandparents were Christian Scientists, and that the Christian Science Society they founded is still there at 6618 U.S. 19 North. The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, would probably have loved seeing the natural beauty of the Koning homestead, as well as the art and craftsmanship of the quilts.

Eddy was recently named by the Atlantic Monthly one of the 100 most influential Americans of all time. As the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and founder of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Christian Science Monitor, she certainly made her mark on American as well as world thought. Her history shows that she drew lots of inspiration from natural beauty, as well as manmade beauty in the form of music, literature and art.

The following statement from Science and Health bears this out, "Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color."

The Konings sound like amazing people and Bob's grandparents would no doubt be deeply moved to see how he and Rhonda have preserved and carried on the family tradition. Thanks again for sharing this inspiring bit of Florida history and art.

Robert B. Clark, Clearwater

Brown-Waite has helped veterans 

Brown-Waite is a hypocrite March 14 letter

I just read the letter to the editor. I couldn't disagree more. The attacks on U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite have nothing to do with policies toward veterans.

The truth is, the congresswoman has always done what is best for our veterans. I hope more people would realize her good work instead of attacking her just because they are liberal. She has also helped many veterans with their VA claims and honored veterans by presenting them with ribbons and medals that were often a long time in coming.

Brown-Waite also helped in getting appropriations for an additional building for parking at the VA Hospital in Tampa.

Irvin Evenson, Dade City