Thursday's letters: Don't fall for governor's false 'woke' campaign
Show you’re proud to be ‘woke’
I cringe every time I hear Gov. Ron DeSantis use “woke” as a derogatory term when referring to progressives, like me. I am not a crazy liberal on the far left and I am certainly not a socialist.
I once heard the term when I asked my family’s African American handyman in Western Kentucky for his reaction to passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. I was 16 years old.
“We is woke,” he said. Until I Googled “woke” nearly 60 years later, I had no idea what he meant.
More: How to send a letter to the editor
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says “woke” means to be “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues, especially issues of racial and social justice.”
When you hear someone say that fighting for fair and equitable voting rights or teaching history by including the good, the bad and the ugly is emblematic of woke culture, progressives need to respond by not turning the other cheek.
Florida will not be the place where woke culture comes to die.
The governor’s legacy will have racism written all over it.
Paul Westpheling, Sarasota
Universal vouchers fiscally irresponsible
The Legislature is about to pass an entitlement program for billionaires. That’s right, HB 1/SB 202 gives everyone, regardless of income, $8,000 for each child they send to a private school, including indoctrinating religious private schools.
Are taxpayers aware that private schools are not accountable? They don’t require certified teachers or curriculum standards, nor are they evaluated like public schools.
The Department of Education has little say in what private schools teach or how voucher money is spent. Are parents who want high-quality education for their children OK with this?
As private school enrollment soars, public schools will shutter. Children may have to attend district schools far from home. Estimates are that unlimited vouchers will cost Floridians $4 billion next year, with Sarasota County set to lose $60 million in the 2023-2024 school year, the first year this fiscally irresponsible voucher plan goes into effect.
Budget cuts at your local school, should it remain open, may well include teachers’ salaries, arts programs and sports teams. Are Florida’s taxpayers OK with this?
Speak up. Tell legislators you disagree with their plan to force you to finance wealthy folks’ tuition for their kids’ unaccountable private schools.
Jill Lewis-Spector, Ed.D., Sarasota
Student trustee shows courage under fire
I would like to thank the Herald-Tribune and Gabriela Szymanowska for the inspirational profile of Grace Keenan, president of the New College Student Alliance and student member of the New College board of trustees (“Who is Grace Keenan, the student trustee on New College’s Board of Trustees?” March 16).
More: Provost who clashed with trustee Rufo has 'stepped down'
Keenan’s dedication to her school and courage under challenging circumstances are a model of dignified leadership. I hope that her fellow trustees listen to the important perspective that she brings to the table.
Grace is a shining example of what is good about New College.
Timothy Imhoff, Sarasota
Draw more homeowners insurance to Florida
Just how out of focus are our state legislators?
In the Herald-Tribune on March 15, you ran a business story about how Citizens Property Insurance Corp. once again has more than 1.2 million customers on its books, the result of private insurers pulling out of Florida.
Then, the next day, you ran a story on 1B about how our lawmakers in Tallahassee are focused on reducing the cost of auto insurance claims for broken windshields.
I’m not happy about the cost of my homeowner's insurance or my auto insurance, but making Florida more attractive to homeowners insurance companies strikes me as being significantly more important than cutting the cost of coverage for windshields.
I can skip coverage for the glass on my car. But I can’t swallow being bumped into a state-run company for windstorm insurance on my house – or the premium they’re charging me after a high deductible.
What is the Florida Legislature doing to depopulate Citizens?
George Lavigne, Sarasota
'Arbitrary' banning of library books
Regarding book banning in Florida, who can say it better than best-selling author James Patterson?
Here's what Patterson recently said:
“The idea that a group of people in a school district who haven’t even read the books can remove a Patterson book or a Toni Morrison book or a Jodi Picoult book is frightening. It seems arbitrary.”
Martha Osborn Vinick, Sarasota
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Aspire to be 'woke,' Student trustee a role model of leadership