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There are many articles that say the educational world is changing. We all hear about the standards set by the state Education Department and how our children need to be held accountable to meet those standards. How much has education actually changed? We all are accountable. Why not our students? I have personally found that, yes, education is changing but, as the saying goes, the more things change the more they remain the same.

Students need to do three things that all of us need to do in our everyday lives: Be on time, be prepared, and do your best. Just think of these three simple things:

* Be on time. How can any business survive if its employees do not show up to work on time? What would happen to the employees if they came to work late? We should be educating our students for their future. Students must get to school on time. Punctuality and being responsible in this area is essential.

* Be prepared. In the business world, this may mean having the right tools, preparing a presentation, studying the law, etc. In the academic setting it includes pens, paper, books, homework, studying, etc. Students should, and must, be accountable for their course work. Time management in this area is important to utilize their time for extracurricular activities, family time and, in some cases, jobs.

* Do your best. Students can only be expected to do their best. John Wooden, former basketball coach at UCLA, would say, "If you do not have time to do it right, when would you have time to do it over?" This saying is true. All of us would benefit from this strong message.

This also includes making good choices. Parents or guardians provide guidance in this area, but when it comes down to the moment of making a choice, parents/guardians are not there. Our young people face three challenges today that can kill them: AIDS, weapons and drugs. In today's complicated world, kids need to make good choices. If a bad choice is made, saying "I'm sorry" may not be possible.

The world is changing. Safety in our schools is more than having a hall pass. School doors are locked, and visitors must be screened before entering the building. Students' valuables must be locked at all times. Monitors are in place to help patrol the halls. Some schools employ safety officers to assist in maintaining a safe environment.

How can parents/guardians help their children? There is only one answer, and it is simple. Get involved in their children's lives. It may not be possible to be physically present at all events, parties, etc., but asking questions is a great way to get involved. By asking questions, parents show an interest in their child's activity, and it can also lead to a positive conversation.

Educators do not have all of the answers. It takes all shareholders to raise children.

Gil Licata is principal at Starpoint High School in Lockport.

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