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Protect our future by funding child care

Editor, The Beacon:

What is our most important resource today, you ask? Of course, it is our children!

Our children are the future of this country. It is very important for them to have the skills and knowledge that they need to be successful.

Who are the people who are imparting these skills and knowledge, you ask? These people are men and women who, thankfully, do the job because that is their passion. They do it because they want to see our children have the skills and knowledge they need to lead our country as adults.

Why, then, do these child-care professionals struggle financially to survive?

Here are some facts for you:

According to a study conducted by The Brookings Institution, positive impacts have been seen in cognitive skills and/or school outcomes, with the largest effects reported from pre-K programs. They have also shown positive emotional and behavioral outcomes, including long-term reductions in criminal behavior.

Some examples of specific improvements include reductions in special education, and higher rates of high-school graduation.

The annual salary of early-childhood educators is truly sad. That salary is a meager $18,370. That averages out to around $8.53 an hour. Most likely, a portion of early childhood educators’ income also goes back into their classroom, because they may not always have the materials they want or need.

As a community, we should try to work together to advocate for the child-care professionals who are teaching our young children, and giving them the skills and knowledge that they need. Stop thinking that child care is just baby-sitting. Your child’s education depends on it.

Go to your legislators about more funding for child-care facilities to operate and have the materials they need. Talk to your legislators about more uniform child care. Every facility should be treated equally.

The “income achievement gap” refers to the difference in academic achievement between students from high-income families and students from less-affluent areas.

A Stanford researcher named Sean Reardon has found that there is a significant gap in reading and math test scores between children in families with high incomes compared to children in families with low incomes.

Income-related achievement differences can start as early as infancy. Pre-kindergarten-age children living in poverty are less likely to possess cognitive and early literacy-readiness skills than children living above the poverty level. An example of this is that 46 percent of 3- to 6-year-olds living in poverty are able to write their names, compared to 64 percent of those above the poverty level.

Children from low-income families typically enter school behind their peers, and never catch up. That being said, it is important to make child care more uniform across the board. Every child should have the same advantages!

Theresa K. Menegay


Don’t miss Athens Theatre’s Singin’ in the Rain

Editor, The Beacon:

The musical Singin’ in the Rain, now playing at the Athens Theatre in DeLand, is WOW!!! to the nth degree.

Kate Ruhlman


No percentage of corrupt police officers is acceptable

Editor, The Beacon:

In a perfect world, police officers would be 100-percent honest and incorruptible. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Police officers do commit infractions and crimes.

Some are minor. Others, like the raping of girls by officers, or the officers who stole and killed people for drugs, are major disgusting acts.

Do not ask me what the percentage of corrupt officers is; it really doesn’t matter. I don’t think girls who were raped or assaulted by police would really care if you tell them how small the corrupt police-officer percentage is.

Whatever the percentage would be, I know it would be greater than the percentage of criminals who are supposedly caught through the police using license-plate readers. That information is in fact an extremely small percentage.

Some police chiefs and other law-enforcement leaders, like Sheriff Mike Chitwood of Volusia County, would have you believe this is a wonderful crime-fighting tool.

He and others who believe in plate-readers are wearing blinders; they refuse to understand the “end result does not justify the means.”

We in this country should be free to travel without having the fear that some corrupt officer has obtained information about us, which they may use illegally for any reason, even because they don’t like our attitude.

The police must have search warrants to enter our home; if the end justifies the means, then how many more crooks and criminals could they catch if they could simply walk into our homes, or simply stop and search people?

There was a reason for the Constitution. If I’m driving down the road and have a legal, properly registered up-to-date plate, then that should be sufficient for any law-enforcement agency.

(Yes, I was in fact stopped by a “cop” who read my tag and pulled me over using the pretense that I had gone over the white line at an intersection. I can go into detail, but no, I am not a wanted criminal and, no, he did not arrest or ticket me. This would be just one example of minor corruption.)

We have to draw the line somewhere, and freedom to travel not in fear is just as important as catching so-called criminals. There really is no justification that can be used to invade our privacy like this. People, like Chitwood, who care nothing about people’s rights or freedoms, disgust me.

P.S.: Even if the cops are decent, the fact is, if a police officer sees a pretty girl that he might want to meet, don’t you think for a minute he might use a tag scanner to find out where she lives? Even if his intentions are not criminal, he should not have the ability to arbitrarily involve himself in someone’s life, like your wife, girlfriend or daughter.

Please help to stop this type of harassment.

Paul Stevenson