Imagine this scenario. You are able to buy an exclusive lottery ticket. Your chance of winning is great. The prize is stupendous. There is only one proviso. You have to be there to win. Well, you might say that since you paid so much money for the ticket, and the backers of the lottery know that you possess the winning number, you should not have to be present to win. But the rules are the rules. You "gotta be there" to win.

Reaping the potential rewards from an education comes with virtually the same proviso. Of course, a student has certain obligations in addition to "just being there," but - attendance is still Rule Number One.

Many parents have lost sight of the importance of being in the classroom on a regular basis. Teachers are chagrined by students who extend their vacations by as much as two weeks. They are incredulous at the audacity of parents to book a vacation during the school year, giving the excuse that the rates are much less expensive at those times. (They are!) They are nonplused by the many appointments for doctors and dentists made during school hours.

Can you imagine what would happen if your child's teacher decided to take two weeks off in October because there was a trip too good to pass up. That teacher would be closely scrutinized and reprimanded for conduct unbecoming a teacher.

What, then, are the appropriate modalities of behavior concerning student attendance? Now, no one suggests, or wants your child to come to school when he or she is ill. However, barring illness, regular, uninterrupted attendance is the first step to winning the biggest lottery of your child's young life. If he or she is not there - there is no possibility of ever getting in the winner's circle.

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