When it comes to education parents must be involved

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Teachers and administrators are spending this week getting ready for the start of school. On Monday, they'll greet the 2008-2009 Bedford County Schools students back to class.

There will be changes, new faces and even new classrooms for some. But the goals ? whether it's through the public school system or a homeschool or private school option ? remain the same. A good education is paramount to helping provide for the success of the next generation.

Whatever education path a student takes, parents and guardians play a key role in helping students learn and achieve. Parents must not abdicate those responsibilities to others. They must take time to help their students with homework and attend school functions. They must be involved.

In a recent letter sent home to parents of students at Bedford Elementary and Bedford Primary schools, Karen Woodford, Title I coordinator for the school system, made that point. "Parents are encouraged to participate in improving the school's academic achievement by assisting students in reading and mathematics through homework activities and by attending parent workshops and activities offered at the school," the letter stated.

The letter was sent out last week informing students at those schools that because those two schools fell below the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks set for them under the No Child Left Behind Act, the students had the option of School Choice, specifically attending Big Island Elementary. While that's certainly an option open to the students, parents must also consider their own role in helping to educate their children. First and foremost they must renew their commitment to being involved in the education process.

According to a 2002 Southwest Educational Development Laboratory study, students with involved parents ? without regard to background or income ? are more likely to:

? earn higher grades and test scores;

? take more rigorous classes;

? pass classes, earn credits and progress in grade level;

? attend school regularly;

? have solid social skills, improve their behavior and adjust to schools' expectations; and

? graduate and pursue post-secondary education.

That's the bottom line. In the end, it's the parents responsibility to make sure their children get a proper education.