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Letter to the Editor: Opposed to Early Release Wednesday


It's funny how the word "facts" are used when describing the "latest surveys" taken. For one, what is the population used for this study? I was not asked my opinion about early release Wednesdays and I have three children in Manatee county public schools. Oh...I'm sorry, I did go through my messages the other day after work and listened to some recording asking my opinion on the early release...and I was to press a certain number if I liked the early out, and another number if I did not etc.

Unfortunately, I was AT WORK when this message was left on my machine! Therefore...and I am just guessing here...but I think that most WORKING mothers and fathers HATE the early out on Wednesdays because you either have to pay for extra care for your children...or you leave them alone at home and have to worry for hours about whether they made it home okay if they will potentially be a homicide victim if someone decides to burglarize the house while you are gone, etc., etc.

As a mother, trust me...all these thoughts are going through my head on Wednesdays, so I am not just exaggerating. And another mention about the "decrease in teen pregnancies"...the total number of infants delivered has dramatically decreased the last few years probably due to the economy and the fact that many people are moving out of Manatee county. Therefore, the numbers probably reflect the decrease in population.

How do I know? Because I am a nurse in labor and delivery at Manatee Memorial and Lakewood Ranch, and my hours have been dramatically decreased the last 2 years due to a huge decrease in patients (if you consider the foreclosure rate, you can assume that a good number of those foreclosures had forced people to move out of the county or state).

Nonetheless, several years ago we had so many patients that there was overtime for everyone and/or anyone who wanted it. Now, I can barely get my 36 hours. However; looking through the Florida Charts statistics, I don't see anything impressive. The average births to mothers aged 15-19 was 490 in the years 2003-2005; 538 in the years 2005-2007; 512 in the years 2007-2009; No data after 2009.

So, if you average these years, there is not really a significant statistical decrease regarding teen births, especially if you consider the increase from 2003-05 as compared to the 2007-9. Also, a new Planned Parenthood was opened in 2008, which I'm sure helped things a bit in the maternity area.

My point here is that, although I do feel for teachers and think that they deserve a break/raise every once in a while, the concern here is; what are our kids/teens doing on Wednesdays? I don't know exactly what my teenagers are doing. I would hope she is not sneaking out of the house, or letting her boyfriend in.

My choices now are to worry and just hope nothing bad happens every Wednesday, or to loose more money paying for care when they are old enough to babysit themselves. If I leave work early every Wednesday, I will possibly lose my job, but will most definitely lose more out of my paycheck. If I put them in after school care, I will still have to pay for that, again, taking money out of my pocket. It's a lose-lose situation for all of us who have to work!

I am wondering who is cashing in on all the children whom are now having to pay schools for the "after school" care? Did the teachers get a big raise? I think not. And, if the teachers are holding the after school care, that really defeats the purpose of the "early release". Regarding the "survey"; Taking a phone survey during the daytime while most parents are out working really doesn't reflect an adequate statistical result, especially when this is the group that would most likely "oppose" the program.

Brandy Thomas
Manatee County

RELATED ARTICLE: Survey Disproves Myths About Early Release Wednesdays


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