On the op-ed page of the New York Times, David Brooks describes new research by Robert Putnam on the increasing inequality of opportunity among children. “Putnam’s data verifies what many of us have seen anecdotally, that the children of the more affluent and less affluent are raised in starkly different ways and have different opportunities.” He concludes:
Equal opportunity, once core to the nation’s identity, is now a tertiary concern. If America really wants to change that, if the country wants to take advantage of all its human capital rather than just the most privileged two-thirds of it, then people are going to have to make some pretty uncomfortable decisions.
On the Ed Next blog, Mike Petrilli writes about some of the approaches education reformers should consider embracing if we want to give less affluent kids a better shot at moving up: 1) working harder to identify talented children from low-income (and middle-income) communities and then providing the challenge and support to launch them into the New Elite via top-tier universities, and/or 2) being more realistic about the kind of social mobility we hope to spur as education reformers.
The Hoover Institution at Stanford University - Ideas Defining a Free Society
Harvard Kennedy School Program on Educational Policy and Governance
Thomas Fordham Institute - Advancing Educational Excellence and Education Reform