Letters to the Editor

School start time the least of Beaufort County school problems | Letters

Hilton Head mom isn’t a fan of her kids’ early school start time

Connie Pratt, a Hilton Head Island mother to two girls, is upset with the district's decision to keep elementary school start times at 7:45 a.m. She puts her girls to bed at 7:15 p.m. to make sure they get enough sleep. For Mother's Day, the girls
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Connie Pratt, a Hilton Head Island mother to two girls, is upset with the district's decision to keep elementary school start times at 7:45 a.m. She puts her girls to bed at 7:15 p.m. to make sure they get enough sleep. For Mother's Day, the girls

After reading your article on school start times, I am a little baffled. A survey by the school district’s Professional Advocacy Council suggests that the change in school start times is having a negative impact on students. Yet their survey indicates that about two-thirds of teachers and parents believe the change has had a positive impact, or no impact, on students.

The advocacy group’s chairwoman presented test data that shows a sharp decline in end-of-course assessment scores and attributes it to the change in start time. At the same time, graduation rates have increased. The chairwoman said this is due to a change in the grading system and the elimination of a graduation exam.

It seems to me that the group should advocate for reform in classroom instruction, motivation of students and the cooperation of parents in the quest for a superior learning system.

I am not an educator, but common sense tells me that when assessment scores decline, it is not a good idea to change the grading system and eliminate the graduation test in order to increase graduation rates.

South Carolina ranks 45th out of the 50 states in the success of public education. We should advocate for improvement of our schools and not be too worried about when we start classes in the morning.

Today’s public school students are tomorrow’s caretakers of our society.

Donna P. Bryant

Bluffton

Propaganda on referendum hurts Beaufort County road planning

The gateway corridor referendum was incorrectly aimed because Beaufort County Council became fixated on four new bridges to Hilton Head Island instead of including major traffic problems caused by multiple traffic lights downstream from those bridges. Worse, they added new lights at Windmill Harbor, further slowing traffic. The referendum should have included bypasses of those lights to permit fast connections to the Cross Island Parkway. Instead, the county used misleading advertising to sell an incomplete kludge requiring years of additional taxes to unravel.

That error might have been caught in time if not for the Greater Island Council, a secret organization. Using a benign front linked to the chamber of commerce, the GIC launched a massive propaganda campaign, drowning out rational analysis of the referendum.

The GIC is a self-selected group claiming members are “informed community advocates.” But, there is no outside review of the accuracy of its advocacy. It is like a car with an overly powerful (lobbying) engine but a weak steering system. They may aim in the right direction, but can spin off the road with poorly researched or special-interest biased positions. That happened here.

With power comes responsibility. The GIC had the opportunity to research the referendum’s pros and cons and issues to provide fair, complete, and accurate information to taxpayers. Instead, it ignored key data and spun off the road — selling a faulty plan. Given their secret operation, inside connections, and special-interest funding, taxpayers should be concerned about being misled and manipulated by this select few.

Steven M. Baer

Hilton Head Island

Consumers, town could force change on loud Hilton Head leaf blowers

I agree with a recent column by David Lauderdale, “Hilton Head property owner wants gas leaf blowers banned.”

We can do better on our little safe Paradise of an island. We can reduce or eliminate the ongoing sound of combustion engines, if we want to. Here is how:

To all landscapers: As you charge millions annually to maintain the island’s beauty, we would only ask that you reimagine and retool to a new generation of battery-driven and quiet equipment. Smart landscapers will figure out that this might be a good way to take some income from the big boys. Just offer your existing customers the option and see what happens. It is called voting with our wallets.

To all customers: When I read the column, it dawned on me that from inside my home, I could hear the sound of a million locusts. Having come from the city, I guess I just thought this was normal. In fact, my four years living next to O’Hare airport made me immune to some serious noise. I guess living on Hilton Head Island, I would like to try for even a more special environment.

Voters: Let’s hold our leaders accountable for positive change. Big talk needs to change to action. From all I see, Hilton Head is becoming a different sort of place. Different can be bad, but it also can be good. Why not try? We all seem to think we are geniuses concerning national politics, but are we impotent to affect change locally?

Chandler Russell

Hilton Head Island

Airport needs better terminal

Having the runway at Hilton Head Island Airport lengthened over the past 12 to 18 months, and being able to attract more airlines and added destinations, is a world-class move from our leaders. Much congratulations, as change does not come quickly on Hilton Head.

But where was the planning to expand the existing terminal?

We have bathroom facilities outside, and we don’t have enough seats in the lounge for two flights (I’m using the word “lounge” very loosely). If we have delays and three flights are waiting, we will have people standing outside. The intercom system is from 1990. There’s one concession that sells water.

I understand we just received $10 million. Let’s start to bring the terminal to 2020 standards, not 1990. And let’s move.

Bob Chillemi

Hilton Head Island

Equality Act is just that

I’m writing in reply to a recent letter attacking H.R. 5, the “Equality Act.” The writer states that “H.R. 5 will have devastating effects on children, parents, business owners, medical professionals, and even faith-based ministries.” Really? I, for one, am not getting that message from this piece of legislation.

In order to assist all readers of this newspaper, here is part of the summary of the act prepared by the Congressional Research Service on the congress.gov website: “This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation. The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.”

So how, exactly, can anyone see this bill “as another form of government policing of its citizens to dictate what they must think, say, and believe?” This bill is anti-discrimination legislation based upon sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It does not require citizens to “think, say, and believe” anything.

Jesus did not command his followers to ration love. Followers of Christianity are commanded to “love one another as I have loved you.”

Frank Edgerton

Hilton Head Island

Mueller just stirring the pot

Your headlines regarding Robert Mueller’s speech last week were, in my opinion, misleading.

It’s not the job of the special counsel to exonerate anyone. His job is simply to determine if there is sufficient evidence to file an indictment. There either is or there isn’t. If there isn’t, case closed. If he is relying on the Justice Department’s legal proposition that you can’t charge a sitting president, then why even conduct this investigation in the first place, spending millions of dollars in the process?

In short, Mueller’s remarks appear to be calculated to stir the pot even further and keep this circus going. This entire investigation calls to mind the Shakespearean play, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Tom Coleman

Hilton Head Island

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