Today, 32.4 million American children go without books -- even as study after study has shown that literacy is crucial to success in school, future earning potential and the ability to contribute to the nation's economy.
The promise of a great public education for all children is under pressure not only from out-of-touch legislators, but from economic and societal factors outside school that make it much more difficult to achieve success within the classroom.
Education wars -- two words that should never be strung together -- are far too common in the United States. The primary casualties of such conflicts, as well as of mounting education cuts and misguided "reforms," are our students.
Education involves the exchange of ideas across diverse communities and across generations. My entire trip was a reminder that our schools must be built on the concept that Jewish people describe as L'Dor V'Dor, or "from generation to generation."
Today we continue the conversation with someone who understands better than anyone why professional excellence is one of the most vital investments we can make in our children's future: Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.