Perhaps it is just because it is an election year, but it feels like every day someone is writing or speaking about the demise of the American Dream.
As best we can determine, that Dream is defined as each new generation doing better than the one that came before it. Simply put, children will have a better life than their parents did.
Monday, a column in The Washington Post by Robert Samuelson was headlined "The American Dream's empty promise" and suggested it is time to give the idea a rest. Samuelson suggests many people feel the promise of the Dream is an entitlement - that if one works hard and is responsible, government should make sure he or she has a good life.
But the Dream has always been based on individual effort.
We'd suggest society must get back to basics when it comes to creating an environment where the Dream can exist.
The first basic is education.
A story early this week again talked about low reading scores on SAT tests. The problem does not rest with teachers, despite continuing efforts to grade them based on their students' results. The problem is societal and rests at home, with parents.
Parents must teach kids to respect their teachers and cherish learning. Parents must support teachers. It was an old adage that if a child got into trouble at school half a century ago, he was in more trouble at home. Today, many parents view themselves as their child's "advocates" and rush to defend Junior whatever his behavior.
That has to stop. And if parents will not help discipline an unruly child, the child must be removed from the class so he won't ruin the education of his classmates. That is the biggest advantage private and charter schools have over public ones - disruptive children are removed so serious students can learn.
If a child constantly sees that his education is important to his parents, it will be important to him. The child will find that the effort he puts into learning will determine his success.
If more children learn that lesson, more members of the next generation will realize the American Dream.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.