John Adams wrote, in 1785, "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and must be willing to bear the expense of it. There should not be a district of one mile square without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the expense of the people themselves."

The public school system developed in the early days of our country, which continues to this day, is one of the forces that has made America great.As a teacher in the public school system, I am proud of the role I play and I enjoy working with the young children I teach. There is no greater reward for a teacher than to watch the progress of students, to see them grasp a new concept or develop a new skill.

I have the responsibility not only to teach my pupils how to read, write and do their sums, but to instill in them a love of learning and to build their self-esteem so they put forth their best effort.

We have many challenges today. We need to reduce class size so we can meet each child's needs. Every child should be guaranteed the opportunity to learn according to his or her individual needs. We need to provide technology and help our students gain the skills to compete in the world of tomorrow.

And we need to encourage parents to be involved in the lives of their children. Most of the children who are successful in school have parents who help and encourage them.

The United States has an excellent system for public education. No other country provides learning opportunities for all its citizens. We take them all, whatever their intellectual ability might be or whatever their handicap. The doors are open and should continue to be open.

This is American Education Week and the theme this year is extremely important: "Educating Everyone Takes Everyone."

We need to join together and provide the best possible learning environment that will enable our youth to achieve their full potential.