There are two ways of looking at this time of year: a beginning or an end.
Some students -- maybe even most students -- bemoan the end of summer. The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, in a phrase that won't ring melodic with anyone under 40 or so, are gone.
Other students -- we'll hazard no estimate of the percentage -- welcome the beginning of a new school year.
But whether an individual student welcomes it or not, it is a beginning. Every student starts the year with a clean slate -- or cleared computer screen, to use a metaphor more in keeping with the times.
What's ahead: Each student has the opportunity to educate himself or herself anew to the task at hand. And the task is relatively simple, to use the year to the best of his or her ability. To read, to write, to add, subtract, divide and multiply. To bring home at the end of the day at least one new fact.
The adults in that student's life also have responsibilities. It is the job of the administrators to provide an atmosphere in which learning is nurtured. It is the job of the teacher to impart knowledge through word, deed and example. And at home, the adults in a student's life also have responsibilities. They must place a high value on education and when their student comes home with that new fact or idea to share, they must be ready to listen. Listening may be the most important part.
Every year there is talk of test scores and challenges and goals, and these are all important things. But if everyone resolves today, in these earliest days of the new school year, to do his or her part, to take this new beginning and build on it every day, the test numbers will almost take care of themselves.