Some families still have some shopping to do, but with the first day of classes for most schools arriving Monday, much of the back-to-school chores are already behind them. Clothes have been purchased — many of them during last weekend’s sales tax holiday — and the various lists of school supplies students will need have been picked up and purchased.

Summer is indeed almost over for the state’s school students, and many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that teachers will now assume the responsibility of keeping them busy and directing their activities toward worthwhile projects.

Unfortunately, that’s what too many parents might think.

The Texas State Teachers Association has issued a statement this week reminding parents that public school educators need their help as the 2007-2008 academic year begins. Parental involvement matters a great deal in the success a student has in school.

The association cited a recent survey of Hispanic parents with children in public schools in four Texas cities along the state’s southern border, and it found that respondents strongly believe parental involvement is important to that success — regardless of the parents’ education level, primary language, age, citizenship status or income.

The TSTA has joined with the National Education Association, which produced a publication “A Parent’s Guide to Supporting School Success,” in urging parents to make time to help their children. Parents need to talk to their youngsters’ teachers regularly, even if no problem exists. Parents should encourage their children to respect their teachers and behave appropriately. Parents need to communicate clearly with teachers about expectations. Parents need to tell teachers about situations at home that may affect a child in class. Parents need to tell their children they are confident in their ability to succeed in school. Parents need to attend teacher-parent conferences as often as possible.

Meanwhile, parents can also boost their children’s success by encouraging them to read, to eat properly and sleep sufficiently; by monitoring their homework time; and by talking to them about school.

Many campuses in the area are holding back-to-school meetings for parents and students today and Friday, and these are excellent opportunities to start the new year out on a solid foundation. A good education has always been the key to success and fulfillment, and it’s never been more true than it is in today’s world. Parents can do much to help educators make that happen for their children.

Brownwood Bulletin