Leslie Boggs: Time to take active role in helping students

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The ongoing changes to education in Texas are a day-in, day-out concern for parents, teachers and students, but it must also resonate as a priority for the broader communities surrounding our schools.

This year we face a heated election for our governor and while there are two differing plans for the future for our schools and students, I’m encouraged that education has taken its proper place in the discussion — at the top.

With change on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that we advocate for our children by engaging and empowering families and communities to play an active role in the future of our state’s education. With more than 500,000 members, Texas PTA remains a powerful voice for all children and youth, supporting legislation that improves the health, well-being and education of the future leaders of Texas.

It is well documented that children whose parents are involved in their schools make better grades and encounter fewer disciplinary problems.

They are more motivated to participate in class, complete homework and generally succeed academically — resulting in children who are better equipped for a promising future.

But what is the role of the larger community? You don’t have to be a parent to play a role in the success of a child’s future.

Schools and the children who attend them are a vital part of our communities — not only during the academic calendar, but 365 days a year.

Helping our schools succeed allows us to build better communities.

When our street lights work, we see more clearly. When our highways are open, we get to Grandma’s house a little faster.

And when our schools thrive, they grow the economy through safer neighborhoods, burgeoning businesses and attracting talent. We move the community forward when we strengthen the pillars of education.

It is critical that we establish accessible pathways for neighbors and grandparents, business owners and elected officials to get involved and support schools on the local level to strengthen these pillars.

There is a perception that volunteering and community involvement require a significant time commitment and is reserved for those with flexible schedules. This simply isn’t the case.

Raising a voice, advocating for children and making a difference can be as simple as hanging a sign in your business window, sporting a decal on your car, sharing a Facebook post and, most importantly, becoming a member.

As the president of Texas’ largest child advocacy association, I urge our communities to prioritize our responsibility to our children — to advocate for and encourage them to reach their potential.

The well-being and success of children is not solely up to families and teachers. It truly takes a village, in communities large and small. Our children are future leaders and will determine the ultimate success of our communities.

This year, we are launching a campaign with this message at its very core — there is no “commYOUnity” without YOU. As our children go back to school, let’s join them and demonstrate that we will “Back the Future.”

Let’s give of our time and resources. Let’s think outside of our own families and consider the greater family in our backyards and our state. Let’s volunteer, nurture young talent, rally the community, spread the word and be a voice for every child.

Now, not later, I invite you to take an active role in your community’s schools and PTAs. Invest in the education of Texas children, which ultimately reaps the reward of a bright future for our communities. Join PTA in making a difference and backing the future.

LESLIE BOGGS, Texas PTA president, has been actively involved with PTA in various roles for more than 25 years. She has served on National PTA committees as a member and chairwoman, and has served on the Texas PTA board of directors in multiple leadership roles.

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