• For Americans the contradiction between national ideal and social fact required explanation and correction. Ultimately this contradiction did not lead to the abandonment of the ideal of equal opportunity but rather to its postponement: to the notion of achieving for the next generation what could not be achieved for the current one. And the chief means to this end was a brilliant American invention: universal, free, compulsory public education. This "solution" was especially important for children and families because it gave children a central role in achieving the national ideal.

    Kenneth Keniston (1977). “All Our Children: The American Family Under Pressure”, Harcourt on Demand