My parents told me that education was the path to success - and they showed me, taking me to Head Start while they were pursuing their own college degrees.
For some students, school is the only place where they get a hot meal and a warm hug. Teachers are sometimes the only ones who tell our children they can go from an Indian reservation to the Ivy League, from the home of a struggling single mom to the White House.
Teachers do the noble work of educating our children. And we can't thank them enough for the hard work they put in every day to ensure a bright future for all of us.
Children are coming to school with trauma, everyday trauma, that they live under: violence in the homes, alcoholism in the community, unemployment that's 80 percent, not just during the recession. We need to help treat that before they can even go sit in a class and learn about math.
I look back and see the kids who made it through school - it made a huge difference in their lives, which made me believe in the power of public education and what it can do for individuals and communities and the state.
In any community there's a strong pull home. People want to return, see their community get better economically and socially. You can build those community-grown opportunities for the kids who've graduated from college to return home, to provide businesses and support things going on. It'll only happen through education.