08/23/06 — Back to school: Heading back to the books has responsibilities for all

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Back to school: Heading back to the books has responsibilities for all

After a couple months of enjoying a little rest and relaxation, Wayne County students are getting their first taste this week of what they will encounter when school opens this Friday.

The open houses scheduled throughout the county are introducing students and parents to what they can expect from their teachers and their schools this year.

But building tours and book lists are not all students and parents should be concerned with as they get their back-to-school chores accomplished.

Over the last few months, and years, there has been a lot of talk about how to improve education not only in Wayne County and North Carolina, but at schools around the country.

The consensus is that changing one aspect of the process is not going to be enough to get interest in education higher and to improve test scores.

To create a successful education program, there has to be a commitment not only from the staff who will lead the classes, but also from those who take home the homework and the parents who supervise its completion.

In other words, without a school-home partnership, all the money, fancy books and ground-breaking programs will be little more than window dressing.

Parents must make education a priority in their families. They must encourage learning in whatever form they can and demand that students do the work that is required to succeed in school.

Teachers have to listen to parents and students. If there is a skill that needs extra attention or a program that would help a child, that educator has to be willing to explore a new approach — anything that will help that student achieve.

And finally, and probably most importantly, students have to accept responsibility for their own education. No one can force anyone to learn or to take his or her future seriously. Students must commit to learning if they want to receive a diploma and go on to a successful career or college.

There are plenty of people already committed to those ideals. All that is necessary now is to start this year with that same zeal. Open house is a chance to make that good start happen.

Published in Editorials on August 23, 2006 12:15 PM