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The Hamilton County Department of Education building is shown in this file photo.

Back to school.

That's where Hamilton County students are headed this morning.

Back to school.

For businesses, the "back-to-school" tag generates as much across-the-board buying as anything this side of Santa Claus coming to town.

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Jay Greeson

According to national reports, back-to-school shopping topped the $75 billion mark this year — a figure that seems to show we care more about what our students wear than just about anything else.

Back to school, yeah right, after we swing by the ATM.

My third-grader says he's super excited to get back to school and even is "looking forward to the homework, believe it or not."

Somehow, it's hard to believe that he'll have that same feeling after Labor Day.

Still, it's reassuring for any parent to know their kids enjoy school. It makes everything easier, especially when they are young.

It also makes the process and the productivity easier, so any way we as parents can make this more fun should be explored.

That's part of the process — we can call it parental home work if you like — that we as parents should feel obligated to embrace.

Whatever we can do to help our kids — all kids, in fact — and help those folks trying to help our kids should be the first assignment on our agenda.

Many of the talented teachers and administrators in our system are officially back to school today, but here's betting that they have spent plenty of their summer time thinking about and preparing for their students' return to school-year routine.

Still, this back-to-school day is different from most.

It's different because in a lot of ways years of turning our backs on schools left us in a status quo position that erupted in national headlines after a basketball trip in December.

It's different because the spotlight of outrage was focused on the errors within the halls of a Bonny Oaks office and the answers to our questions were simply unacceptable.

Different because of the leadership upheaval caused by three new elected members of the Hamilton County school board that first must find a new chairperson and then continue the search for a new superintendent.

Those questions will start to become more clear when the new board members are sworn in on Sept. 1. So maybe for a lot of us adults, that will be the first day of the new school year in a lot of aspects.

But, with the buses on the streets and the thrown-together breakfasts as we all head to the driveway today, let's remember that the students are the most important part of this equation.

We begin arguably the most unsettled and potentially most important school year since the city and county systems merged, and our kids head back to the classroom.

This has to be a concerted effort, both in finding the new leadership and working a daily plan with your student or your community school or however you can help.

This is a wake-up call that this year could be the beginning of a new day or, Heaven forbid, another huge step down the spiral of ineptitude.

Our kids go back to school today. May we all get back to their school in some way to help.

Let's all embrace the homework needed to make this a truly great year.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343. His "Right to the Point' column runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on A2.

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