No utopia

Thank you for your article on public schools `"Defending public schools," Aug. 11`. I have first- and third-graders who are in public school for the first time this year. They previously went to a country club-sounding school. I felt privileged at the time and felt like I was giving my kids the best possible start. It was a utopian experience for a while, but that was part of the problem. I felt my boys needed to experience diversity – not only cultural but also socioeconomic diversity.

Not being a Florida native and having a mixed private and public education myself, I was sure that in Florida, public school was simply not an option. The reputation in my mind was "Floridumb." I am happy to say that since moving my children to Hillcrest Foreign Language Academy, I have witnessed the dedication that you so graciously gave the teachers credit for in your article. Thank you for explaining how vouchers divert public taxpayer funds to private sectors. Also, thank you for explaining how Gov. Bush's A-Plus plan and President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act impact our schools. It's great to know that there are folks out there who are in touch with the front lines.

Debby Peters, Orlando

We make the grade

I thought that was an excellent and very candid cover story by Liz Randall on Florida's educational dilemma `"Defending public schools," Aug. 11`. It is refreshing to know that someone has the intelligence and courage to provide insight on an issue that is too often truncated into sound bites by the local media.

Education is one of the key issues of our time, and applying business-type thinking to it simply does not work. It is not unlike taking a poem and trying to make it fit into a ledger sheet. Clearly, our governor does not know any better, nor does he want to. It is up to the Weekly, with its distinct voice and passion, to help folks see the other side of the coin.

Bill Belleville, Sanford

Something completely different

God needs a vacation. He told me yesterday as we sat down to Thai food that He is sick and tired and he just wants to be left alone for a while. Having to worry over a universe of things, from porpoises to George Bush to competing high school football pre-game locker-room prayers, for victory has left Him as drained as an Orange Blossom ho on Sunday morning. He told me that He is thinking about Cancun, or maybe even Aruba, but the Aruba thing may be a touch sticky because that would mean that He would feel "obligated" to donate charity hours to hunt for that missing girl. You may not know this but He was recently hounded and shamed into dropping a hint or two about the location of that runaway bride, and that majorly frosted His scepter. He just felt so used.

He does have a few requests in vacation accommodations. He wants a suite of rooms overlooking the pool. Gideon Bibles have to go; they give Him the heebie-jeebies. And He would like to emphasize that any door-to-door evangelists spotted lurking within 300 yards of the hotel will knock Him off the wagon and send Him nervously ripping into a pack of GPCs.

He just needs a rest. A nice siesta. Contrary to what Central Florida TV preachers say, he doesn't need a farthing, just an occasional all-boys night out at a nice Italian restaurant with Jesus, Moses, Frank, Sammy, Deano and Sam Kinison, topped off by anything hand-rolled and smuggled in from Cuba. And would it kill Jesus to pick up the check?

He is so fagged out that He is even tossing around the option of giving up the God business altogether and going into charter-boat fishing in the Keys. Should He retire, a replacement God is no sweat. There is someone in the wings who has been convinced for years that he is God: Donald Rumsfeld.

So lay off the prayers. For the time being He is limiting himself to answering only five a day from women trapped in fundamentalist marriages to men with the IQ of cabinet-hinge dust. But if you should find yourself with an emergency, well, go ahead, then, send up a prayer. Buddha is covering for him.

Larry Limbaugh, Orlando

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