Generating and Communicating the Most Effective Policy Responses to the Opportunity Gap

Robert Putnam will lead working groups of scholars and practitioners to develop research-informed responses for reducing class gaps in youth opportunities.

There is a clear divergence among children at the top and bottom brackets of family socio-economic status in factors predicting life success, such as test scores, time and money spent by parents on children’s academic enrichment, day care quality, and social support from mentors and peers. The working groups will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from across the country and the political spectrum to identify promising, research-tested policies (government, religious, nonprofit, business, or citizen action) to help reduce inequality in youth outcomes. The goal is to ensure that youth born to parents with limited educational and financial resources have a more equal chance of succeeding and realizing their potential. During the winter, spring, and summer of 2015, a series of three-day working groups will be convened on key factors influencing life success for young people. A total of six working groups will meet, each on a specific topic. These topics include early-childhood education and development, reducing class gaps in the K–12 years, connections and mentoring, improving parenting and family stability, strengthening communities and neighborhoods, and workforce development.

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