A defense of the Italian public school system, attacked by the Prime Minister these days, comes from a New York professor, with an American PhD and who works for a private university. Personal recollections but also references to the history of the Italian school fill this piece which we share completely. As Albertini writes, one must not forget that public school not only had an educational function, but also political. Italian unity was obtained in classrooms. Underpaid but respected teachers created a national sense of belonging by teaching our language, history and literature.