What's the point of charter schools if they don't outperform public schools?

Also in this week's letters: military draft, climate change deniers, vacant lots, charter review
By: 
Jun. 15, 2017

Dear Editor:

Thanks for letting us know how "Flagler third-graders' reading scores improve" in your May 25 edition.  

It should be noted that our traditional public schools, Old Kings and Belle Terre Elementary schools to name two, express the highest ideals of American democracy by accepting all students in their communities, no matter how brilliant or how challenged they might be.

On the other hand, our charter schools, such as Imagine School at Town Center, get to pick and choose their students. Those judged not a good match for Imagine are not accepted and sent to schools like Old Kings and Belle Terre.

How is it, then, that Old Kings and Belle Terre Elementary met or exceeded Imagine School's record in the fraction of third-graders who tested proficient?

Shouldn't charter schools do better? Isn't that why we have charter schools?

Merrill Shapiro

Palm Coast

Editor's Note: According to the Imagine website: "Imagine Schools admits students of any race, religion, color, gender, physical handicap, national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities made available at our schools."

Lack of a draft leaves most without military experience

Dear Editor:

Years ago, on D-Day, we would ask, “Which branch of the service did you serve in?”

Today, the question has changed to, “Did you serve in any branch of the service?”

This is the result of creating lottery numbers for the draft and the doing away of the draft totally.

Just my observation.

Richard Schaefer

Palm Coast

We must protect our children from delusions of leaders who deny climate change

Dear Editor:

When President Trump stated his plan to withdraw from the global agreement to address climate change, leaders around the world met his decision with dismay and disdain. Far from making America “great,” he destroyed our credibility and threatened our security as well as our environment and our future. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis parroted Trump’s error-ridden justifications on the internet.

Why should Floridians be worried? Scientists agree that unless we address the climate changes that are causing ocean levels to rise, much of our state will literally disappear under water. Trump has already begun acting against our best interests by reducing budgets for environmental protection, canceling clean power projects, and granting permits for pipelines and fuel extraction on public land.

Governors of many other states immediately stepped up to reaffirm their commitment to addressing these issues (and claim the benefits of alternative energy industry jobs). Not Gov. Rick Scott. He supports the president’s policies even to the extent of purging references to climate change from government publications. It’s up to every one of us to defend ourselves, our children, and grandchildren from such leaders—and from the delusion that privileged, careless, or self-absorbed actions define a “great” country rather than a shameful one.

Hertha Schulze

Palm Coast

Matanzas Woods traffic is bad and getting worse

Dear Editor:

The traffic on Matanzas Woods Parkway has gotten worse, and adding 50 new houses with the Matanzas Lakes development on Londonderry Drive, with two cars for each house, maybe more with one way in and one way out, is going to add to the problem.

I have a difficult time getting out of my street. The long line of cars, trucks and school buses goes all the way to the traffic light at Belle Tere Parkway. If you want to turn left to get on the interstate, you have to cut cars off, because nobody will let you in, even when they’re not moving. The city of Palm Coast needs to fix this before someone gets killed. This needs to be taken care of before they add to the problem!

Dennis C. Rathsam

Palm Coast

Leave the vacant lots alone for the sake of Palm Coast charm

Dear Editor:

I don’t know about you, but the little lots that are uncleared in Palm Coast are part of its charm. These little woods separate the neighborhood with the beauty of native flora and fauna.

The little lots (150 feet by 60 feet) are homes for the many birds, rabbits, raccoons, armadillos, turtles and feral cats that keep the rodent population under control.

Now, all of a sudden (even though the almost daily rainfall has begun for the summer) the city is busily posting paper notices on little wooden posts to clear them or they will be cleared by the city, and charged to the owners.

I don't know about you, but I feel that the money the city spending on landscaping, instead of safety issues like street lights, sidewalks and allowing businesses to have signs that are visible from the roads, seems unresponsive to the citizens. For a lot of the elderly, the wooded lots are as close to nature as we can manage.

How much did they pay for those exotic palm trees along Palm Coast Parkway? Thousands of dollars — each. Why couldn't we have had our native sabal palms installed instead? (It would have cost thousands less.)

Please, Palm Coast, use the money for more safety and police protection and leave the little wildlife patches alone now that the drought is over!

Carol Propper

Palm Coast

Editor’s note: The Wildfire Mitigation Ordinance states that any vacant property owner is responsible to mow any vegetation deemed a fire hazard that is within 30-feet of an adjacent structure.

Editor's 'charter review' argument made no sense

Dear Editor:

You wrote about a May 18 meeting with the Florida Chamber Foundation, which leans strongly Republican, in which a “survey” declared that 70% of those in attendance said that responsiveness in government was a weakness in our community, and 35% said the situation was only getting worse.

The city of Palm Coast website reports that the city has 77,068 residents, according to the annual population estimate by the Bureau of Economic Business Research. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the city’s population to be 80,600 as of 2014. Bestplaces.net says 82,893.

And the audience count on May 18 Flagler Auditorium was what? And responding to a right-wing survey?

I’m confused how Dr. Jerry Parrish, with clear Observer support, can extrapolate that this May 18 audience survey is “Why to have a charter review.”

Bonnie Bellin

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Dr. Jerry Parrish did not mention the charter review. That was my conclusion: that declining a citizen-led charter review is symptomatic of a government that is not responsive to residents.