The best way to ensure our children see a brighter future is to educate them today. The young men and women now making their way through grade school will face competition in a global marketplace their parents never imagined. Education is the best tool we have to ensure they succeed and prosper as adults.

To provide our children with the quality education they need, we must demand excellence in the classroom from both our teachers and our students. The standards and accountability measures established by the No Child Left Behind program are paying dividends. We have seen promising results in lower and middle school; it should now be expanded to include high school. Additionally, any unfunded mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act should be eliminated. We cannot demand our schools take on addiitonal costs without providing them with the funds they need.

The federal government can play a large role in assuring our children receive a good education, but excellence does not stop and start in the classroom. Parents must shoulder some of the burden of their children's education and work as partners with their children's teachers. By helping our children understand what is expected and providing a healthy atmosphere for learning at home, we can make sure their education doesn't stop at the schoolhouse door.

Finally, we must create a level playing field for parents who decide a home school environment is the right choice for their children. A child receving a quality education at home should receive all the advantages of one who attends a public or private school.