The promise of upward mobility is central to education reform. Parents, educators, and researchers hope that if we can prepare low-income students for college and career, they will have the tools they need to enter the middle class as adults. But Robert Putnam’s new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, argues that a growing opportunity gap is making such hopes look naïve.

As Putnam contends, the cycle of poverty is stronger than ever. What aspects of our current education system are contributing to this trend? And more importantly, what reforms are needed?

Read the event transcript.


Robert Putnam
Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University
Author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Michael Petrilli
President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute