Oak Park seems plagued by unrealistic curriculum

As a special education teacher for 29 years, it was my privilege to educate these children and ensure that I maximized their capabilities to enjoy and to meaningfully participate in society.

The Oak Park story is so upsetting to me on the most visceral of levels, as I recognize an unrealistic curriculum gone amok.

As an educator, I designed lesson plans based on individual needs and abilities which integrated with vital life skills for those children who were not isolated.

Children learned to read meaningful computations related to money, setting of tables, food preparation, mannerly behavior, and when appropriate experienced community outings.

They reveled in a structured environment filled with stimulation, and a strong mentoring system throughout the school which supported my vision for these children. Safety was maintained at all times and in turn all children and teachers felt safe and happy to approach the new day.

The Sarasota County school district will continue to reap these newspaper reports if modifications are not made. Educators must devise a plan for the future and take new directions that will vastly improve the outcome both for the students and the teachers.

Nancy Phillips, Sarasota

Time to repeal, replace Second Amendment

Many Americans believe climate change is a hoax. Others believe the world is 6,000 years old. And then there are those who think the Second Amendment spells out their right to own guns of any type and number. But all of them have been duped.

In 1791, when the Second Amendment was written, there was a need for militias of armed civilians to support a new and small standing army. Militias were well organized, regulated and trained.

But today the need for those militias is gone. We have the most powerful military of all.

Yet, driven by profit, the NRA went to bed with the gun industry and pushed the gun-ownership part of the Second Amendment, while completely disregarding the “well regulated militia” part — distorting the amendment, in other words.

Former Chief Justice Warren Burger called this interpretation “one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public.”

So now we have more guns than people — including military-type assault rifles — nearly 40,000 gun deaths a year, and regular mass shootings followed by the “thoughts and prayers” routine.

It is time to repeal and replace this outdated amendment, which has become a cancer on our society.

Baerbel Kavanaugh, University Park

To curb fake Fox News, revive Fairness Doctrine

A recent article in the Herald-Tribune, "Media Losing Out With Biased Reporting," claims Fox News and conservative media are gaining market share.

It is not surprising, as some of the 1% who hold 40% of national wealth are proliferating the airways with propaganda stations.

Years ago, the Fairness Doctrine was an FCC requirement. It "required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was … honest, equitable, and balanced" (Wikipedia).

The Reagan administration had the Fairness Doctrine removed. Recently some Democratic legislators have suggested reinstating it.

Conservatives have reacted vehemently against fair reporting. "(Rush) Limbaugh has promised he’s 'not going down without a fight' ” and calls the Fairness Doctrine just 'the tip of the iceberg' of an attempt by the federal government to expand its power. Newt Gingrich called the Fairness Doctrine 'Affirmative Action for liberals' and (Sean) Hannity called it 'an assault on the First Amendment'" (Originalpeople.org).

Fox News classifies much of its air time technically as entertainment. With a Fairness Doctrine reinstated, Hannity and others would have to start programs with: "The following is entertainment and actually fake news reporting."

Ronald Brown, Sarasota

Few liberal Jews back BDS movement

Regarding the Sept. 3 letter “Support for boycott of Israel upsetting”: The vast numbers of Jewish folk of any political persuasion do not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The writer’s premise that Jews who are supposedly “liberal, leftist and Democratic” support BDS is an outright lie. The great, great majority of Jews do not support BDS, including we “liberals.”

What people, whether Jews, Christians, Muslims and of any other religion, who describe themselves as “liberal” do support is inclusion, equality, tolerance, and fair and kind treatment of all. That is, (not exactly quoted) Judeo-Christian values: Do not do onto others as you would not have them do to you, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take in the homeless.

What “liberals” oppose is religious intolerance, racism, homophobia and bigotry hidden behind extreme orthodoxy of any religion.

The previous writer is apparently a Trump and Netanyahu supporter accustomed to dissembling and misleading fellow supporters, who unfortunately are susceptible to being misled.

Stuart Sinai, Longboat Key