President Obama delivered his second back-to-school speech today, telling American students, "Nobody gets to write your destiny but you."
Hard work and determination are a large part of success, and on a level playing field, a Horatio Alger ending may still be possible.
But for far too many kids in America, that level field does not exist.
Among 30 comparable nations, the U.S. ranks 25th in math...and 21st in science....two subjects which are indisputably necessary for advancement in the 21st Century.
Tonight, the CBS Evening News begins a series on education called...exploring the reasons why so many schools get a failing grade when it comes to teaching our kids.
It's true a child should write his or her own destiny - but first, he or she needs to be able to write.
There will always be good teachers and good students...but a good system is the final tool for ensuring this time, no child is left behind.
That's a page from my notebook.
I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.