Stephanie Rivera is a junior at Rutgers University preparing to become a teacher.

Stephanie was one of the leading forces in creating Students United for Public Education, a new organization in which students are joining to stand up against the privatizers, profiteers and naysayers now besieging our public schools.

She has her own blog, where she regularly debates other students who support corporate reform policies.

Stephanie is an activist on behalf of the teaching profession and on behalf of social and educational equity.

She joins our honor roll as a hero of public education because she has bravely taken on powerful forces and dared to ask hard questions.

She understands that teaching is hard work, and that it is a profession, not a pastime.

I admire her spunk, her willingness to debate, her energy, and her courage.

The future belongs to you, Stephanie, and to all the other students who understand that public education belongs to them as a democratic right to build their future.

It must not become a plaything for Wall Street and billionaires, nor a stepping stone for politicians, nor a profit center for entrepreneurs.

It belongs to you and your generation. Preserve and strengthen it for future generations, doors open to all by right.