As a graduate of good public schools, I know firsthand how a decent public education can open all kinds of doors. Strong public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and America's competitiveness in the world economy, and it is part of what instills the sense of common good that defines us as a nation. It's time to make a commitment to educating every American child to his or her full potential. We know what works: smaller class sizes, active intervention for children in crisis, more time in school, first-rate principals, more flexibility and autonomy for teachers, and involved parents. We've seen these good ideas proven time and again. It's time for the federal government to stop unfunded mandates and back-door privatization schemes and instead invest in proven best practices.