keep them engaged

A recent article by Times-Union reporter Denise Amos did an excellent job of explaining the divisions that exist regarding the growth of the gifted program within the Duval County Public Schools.

As a retired teacher of the gifted for more than 25 years, it’s an issue that will always be important to me.

First of all, it’s important to challenge our most academically talented students.

Yes, underachieving gifted students are a problem for students who are bored with their current curriculum.

Too often, time spent in gifted education is the highlight of any week, and those who aren’t receiving those benefits quickly lose interest in standard education.

Second, the growth of charter schools in neighborhoods that already have quality schools has provided a temptation for some of Duval County’s best to leave the public schools.

For that reason, it’s imperative that our public schools offer quality options.

There were two highlighted quotes in the Amos article that presented the opposing opinions on whether gifted students should be compartmentalized for various amounts of time during the school week.

I totally agree with the quote that referred to gifted education as something that “a child with a curious mind, a gifted mind, needs.”

In addition to absorbing information more rapidly, gifted children learn differently, think differently and even have a different, more adult sense of humor.

Much of gifted education is in groups as students problem solve, create, research and learn from one another. The skills learned from that benefit them well in future leadership positions.

Is it elitism to compartmentalize gifted children?

With our current trend to include all abilities in one classroom, it’s easy to forget that children have widely varying needs and that all of them need to be addressed as well as possible.

Years ago when many Duval schools had year-round schools, students rotated on and off vacations.

My gifted students and those in other year-round schools could often be found sitting by classroom doors on their vacation days, knowing that gifted was going on for the other tracks and not wanting to miss anything.

The need to be with other gifted students is very strong!

Doesn’t everyone enjoy getting together with others who have their interests in common?

Why should gifted children be any different?

I applaud DCPS for continuing to strive toward meeting the needs of incredible students who are most likely to become our leaders of the future.

Rhoda T. London, Jacksonville




Much like commercial ads on TV, fake news counts on us not challenging truthfulness and sources.

Today, it is impossible to believe what you see, read or hear because the practice of faking the news is so ubiquitous in our society.

Our wonderful country’s future is at stake if fake news advances to the realm of believability.

That’s why I strongly support President Donald Trump — and his baggage.

As a businessman, Trump sees through the muck that the politicos and news media have stirred up in the swamp.

And he’s calling them out on it through his use of Twitter and his steps to drain the swamp and Make America Strong Again.

Art Costa, Jacksonville



The Democratic Party is becoming increasingly bolder with its anti-American rhetoric and actions.

Just consider the Democratic Party’s:

• Backing of the Iranian nuclear deal, which is against the interests of America.

• Unwillingness to have much vetting of Muslim refugees.

• Support for sanctuary cities.

• Support for open borders and no fences.

• Willingness to cut military funding in favor of social programs.

• Refusal to use the term “radical Islam.”

• Policy of obstructionism in Congress.

• Desire to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and release many terrorists.

• Call to release Chelsea Manning, who gave government secrets to the enemy.

And let’s not forget Democratic former President Barack Obama, who did an exemplary job in weakening our military and destroying our economy.

Alan Pease, Jacksonville




All of the president’s men (and women) constantly tell us that President Donald Trump is a “counterpuncher” who “hits back hard.”

If that is true, why hasn’t Trump done anything to the Russians for their hacking and meddling in our election process?

President Scrappy-Doo had the perfect opportunity to make Russia accountable when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting.

Apparently, Scrappy-Doo asked about the hack, Putin denied it — and they moved on.

Sounds like the president took a dive instead of throwing a counterpunch. Sad.

Scott Schleifer, Jacksonville