A big part of the answer has to be more government support for public education at all levels. This requires more tax revenues -- especially from Americans who are best able to pay.
Most Americans still believe in the ideal of equal opportunity. And most harbor the patriotic notion that we have responsibilities to one another as members of the same society.
The two principles lead to an obvious conclusion: America's richest citizens have a duty to pay more taxes so kids from middle and lower-income families have chance to make it in America.
A pending initiative in California would raise taxes on millionaires and use the proceeds to fund public education at all levels. It's a good idea, and it comes at the right time. Other states should follow.