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  • Herald-Tribune

    Self-direction, creativity, critical thinking are foundation of New College experience

    By Sarasota Herald-Tribune,


    New College demands independent thinking

    Gov. Ron DeSantis visited New College on June 1 to praise himself and his personally selected New College president for their ongoing success in stamping out indoctrination at this (formerly) renowned honors college.

    His charge of indoctrination is not only false but scurrilous. But it may be a Freudian slip revealing his intentions.

    In 1965, I joined the second class enrolled at New College. Indoctrination was as alien then as it is today. In fact, the New College experience has always been the antithesis of indoctrination.

    In addition to demanding intellectual rigor and informed critical thinking, the foundational features of a student’s experience at New College have been from the beginning and remain today creativity, independent thinking and disciplined self-direction with support from a demanding and gifted faculty.

    Professor Douglas Berggren, one of the founders of New College, articulated the New College mantra best when he wrote on a classmate’s first paper, “Do Over. I already know what I think. Now tell me what you think.”

    That Ron DeSantis should accuse New College of indoctrination is evidence that he is either inexcusably ignorant, delusional or a liar with an agenda. You choose.

    Denby M. Barnett, Seattle, Washington

    Cars flooded, but storm drains working?

    On June 17, under a photo of cars stuck in floodwaters covering their headlights, an article informed readers that “flash flooding brought on by the heavy rainfall June 11 submerged local roadways and businesses in eight inches of water at its peak, overwhelming the area due to its sudden intensity. But ongoing recovery efforts demonstrate that the county, per staff, is where it needs to be ahead of hurricane season.”

    In other words, you’re supposed to believe that the floodwaters covering your headlights are only 8 inches deep.

    And the county drainage systems are working as they should.

    Don’t worry. Be happy.

    Klaus Obermeit, Sarasota

    Arts programs boost tourism revenue

    “Fla arts groups reeling as DeSantis vetoes funding,” June 15: Our governor continues his war against “woke,” despite the fact that studies have shown every dollar spent on arts and culture programs generates about $9 more in related spending.

    In that same Herald-Tribune edition, Bryan Griffin, communications director for the governor’s office, extolled Ron DeSantis’ administration for making Florida the No. 1 domestic tourist destination.

    Seems that our Republican leaders can talk the talk but have lost their way on the walk.

    Stanley Forwand, Nokomis

    True heroes behind improved reading scores

    Thank you to School Board member Tom Edwards for sharing with the public an accurate account of the heroes responsible for the “positive rise in third grade reading scores in our district.”

    Accolades to our former superintendent, Brennan Asplen, for doing such a superb job!

    And thank you to our new superintendent, Terry Connor, for recognizing and supporting Dr. Asplen’s successful reading program vision.

    Agata H. Gobic, Sarasota

    One commissioner stands up for families

    Kudos to Mark Smith, our one commissioner who opposed slashing Sarasota County funding for the Early Learning Coalition school readiness program (“Sarasota County Commission slashes childcare help; sheriff's eviction program at risk,” June 11).

    I don’t understand people who obviously want more babies to be born but ignore the needs of local children.

    How about parents who need help providing decent child care for their children?

    The commission voted 4-1 to oppose the advice of its advisory board and the matching funds from the state.

    Again, thank you to Mark Smith for standing up for the right choice.

    Jane Serio, Venice

    Envision smart growth, not no growth

    My husband and I bought a condo in the Rosemary District in 2005, when it was downtrodden. In 2014, we moved to Sarasota permanently and watched the positive change happening.

    Elections can bring out the worst in people. Disinformation. Misinformation. False claims. Half-truths.

    Our city and county leaders have a big job ahead for I sense a deepening divide within our community: “No growth” living in the past versus “smart growth” envisioning a vibrant future.

    Do we really want to go where the “no growth” path may lead? Or do we go where there is no path and leave a trail carved from a vision for the future?

    Life is filled with difficult decisions, and winners are those who make them.

    Critics of the current Sarasota City Commission say that many of the commissioners “don’t listen to citizens’ voices.”

    I disagree. I may not have agreed with some of their decisions, but I never thought they weren’t listening. Upsetting the apple cart would take us backward.

    In the words of motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.”

    Pamela Mones, Sarasota

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