Monday's letters: School Board's attempt to force consultant on district despicable

Protesters before the April 18 School Board meeting let the board members know they oppose hiring Vermilion Education as a school district consultant.
Protesters before the April 18 School Board meeting let the board members know they oppose hiring Vermilion Education as a school district consultant.

Board lost credibility in Vermilion push

Many people with extensive credentials in education spoke at the School Board meeting April 18. All but one were against the Vermilion Education contract.

Nearly all explicitly said Vermilion isn’t qualified as a consultant. They used clear, unambiguous language.Apologists for the Vermillion boondoggle – one expert and a handful of other people – presented us with word salad.

More: School Board votes down contract with firm tied to conservative Christian college

More: How to send a letter to the editor

This board lost all credibility when it put forward this transparent attempt to transform our public schools into temples of the so-called Christian, Hillsdale cult. This is particularly despicable since HB1, the expanded voucher bill, will enable parents who want their children indoctrinated to do so at public – and the public schools’ – expense.

Board Member Tim Enos claimed that the fear of retribution, expressed by teachers who had others read letters on their behalf, is unwarranted. I rather doubt that.

Board Member Robyn Marinelli cast the deciding “no” in the 3-2 vote but then suggested that the contract be reevaluated in a workshop. Clearly some board members are hoping the public will lose interest, so the contract can be quietly adopted. Stay vigilant.

John Kesich, Venice

Out of immigrant crisis, create opportunity

The USA has a labor shortage, especially entry level, so why can’t we figure out a way to swiftly, safely integrate those entering our country illegally?

I believe most people coming into our country illegally are good people who want better lives for themselves and their families. And we can help them, while we help our country too.

Imagine undocumented immigrants assessed for aptitude in farming, construction, landscaping, food prep, housekeeping, etc.

Instead of releasing them haphazardly into our country with questionable paperwork (leaving most unable to legally get a job), sign them up as potential future citizens.

To stay in the country, we create a “buddy system” where they’re “sponsored” by a person, nonprofit, church or corporation. They would learn basic English and a trade, send their children to school, hold down a job, pay taxes, stay out of trouble and, eventually, become citizens.

It’s an opportunity wrapped in a crisis. We can figure this out. After all, Americans are known for ingenuity and compassion. Let’s live up to our potential as a country!

Melinda Foster, Longboat Key

Lies cost Fox more than money

Hardly a word was said by either Fox News or the Herald-Tribune immediately following the court settlement reached by Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News.

On April 18, Dominion settled its defamation lawsuit against Fox for $787.5 million! That’s not chump change – and for a defamation case it is one of the largest court settlements in American history.

This is how big it is: Dominion, a public company, is valued at about $225 million. It has annual sales of around $25 million and it employs only about 200 employees.

Fox News lied with impunity about voter fraud.

So the next time you hear someone say they “heard it on Fox News,” you should respond, “You’re kidding, right?”

Peter Hooper, Venice

Like Germany, US must face up to past

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was 80 years ago, on April 19, 1943, and is now commemorated in Poland.

There is a book by Leon Uris titled “MILA 18,” that describes the event in all of its horrors. Growing up in post-war Germany, I read it at the age of 10 or so.

As I remember, it was disturbing and eye-opening. It left me with a sense of “collective guilt.” But I am glad I was able to read it. I am glad there was no effort to sweep history under the rug as we see here at present.

There was no attempt at banning books at that time. In fact, Germany, under then-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, had admitted and apologized for the Holocaust and started a reparations program.

Free societies do not hide history just because it may make some “uncomfortable.” Only the truth will set us free. We should always have the courage to acknowledge and teach misdeeds of the past – given the proper context.

And there is nothing wrong with some “collective guilt.” It may even be necessary to reshape a country into a better and more morally responsible democracy. If Germany could do it, so can we.

Baerbel Kavanaugh, University Park

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sarasota School Board lost credibility with consultant proposal