LAURA PAPPANO – The first thing to reflect on is this: Public schools gather everyone. All are invited. There is no test you need to pass, no amount of money or influence or fame you must possess to be allowed in. Do you know how rare that is in the United States today? This has made public schools the place where people from all backgrounds and circumstances have come together to learn. It is where parents have volunteered and, regardless of their political bent, have worked alongside other parents for a common purpose.