USF’s College of Education can still turn around

USF will shutter College of Education | Oct. 16

We can turn this around

I have been involved with the Univer- sity of South Florida’s College of Edu- cation in one form or another since the 1970s. It was once one of the premier col- leges of education in the nation. Over the past 20 years, I have witnessed a sad decline in the quality of not only the undergraduate training, but true part- nerships with school districts.

What is happening now should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been involved in the college. In my nine years on the USF Foundation Board, I witnessed the college consistently being treated like the unwanted child of the university. But I do believe the under- graduate program can be saved as a

4-year program. While it is true people are not exactly banging down the doors to become teachers, it is the responsibil- ity of a university like ours to play a role in changing the future of education and making it a more attractive field. Using COVID-19 or budget cutbacks as a reason to shut the program is only an excuse.

I truly believe, if handled swiftly, this decision can be re-considered. We need a strong leader with some business sense and foresight to come in and lift the col- lege out of the ashes and return it to a true global leader in state-of-the-art qual- ity higher education.

Stephanie Holmquist Johnson, Plant City

Too much, too soon | Times recommends, Oct. 7

Amendment 2 will hurt me

I am concerned about the unintended con- sequences of Amendment 2. I own my own restaurant. If I am required by law to raise my starting pay to $15 an hour, two things will happen. First, I will have to give other, more experienced employees a raise, too.

Second, I’ll have to come up with the extra money to cover those raises. Basically, I’ll have two choices: I can raise my menu prices and risk losing customers, especially those on a fixed income, or I can reduce staff and hope that my remaining employees can do the work of the employees I had to let go.

Neither of these are good options. Small, independent restaurants like mine oper- ate on razor thin margins. I believe wages should be determined by people’s experi- ence and skill and by the market — espe- cially now, when small businesses like mine are struggling to recover from the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic. That’s why I hope Floridians will vote “no” on Amendment 2.

Bennet Pumo, Lutz

The Generalized System of Preferences program

Don’t let this program expire

The last thing anyone should be doing during an unprecedented public health crisis is creating more barriers for American-based companies to generate economic growth. But allowing trade preference programs like the Generalized System of Preferences to expire on Dec. 31 will do just that. The chemical distribution industry

plays a vital role in the American supply chain and the competitiveness of distributors depends on the GSP program. In Florida, the industry that the National Association of Chemical Distributors represents is a major economic engine, employing over 2,563 people and generating $242.89 mil- lion in tax revenue while delivering valuable products to every industry sector. In the chemical distribution industry alone, a lapse in GSP is estimated to cost the American economy over $55 million.

It’s time for Congress to stop the divisiveness and reauthorize this vital program to help save good-paying Florida jobs, ensur- ing the livelihood of hard-working families.

Eric R. Byer

The writer is president and CEO of the National Association of Chemical Distributors.

Trump, Biden coming to Tampa | Oct. 29

I have a question

President Donald Trump’s adult children have been campaigning for their father here in Florida and elsewhere. Why isn’t Hunter Biden campaigning for his father as well? Any ideas, anyone?

Paul Leaverton, Tampa

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