In Education for Upward Mobility, editor Michael J. Petrilli and more than a dozen leading scholars and policy analysts seek answers to a fundamental question: How can we help children born into poverty transcend their disadvantages and enter the middle class as adults? And in particular, what role can our schools play? 

Everyone agrees that expanding educational achievement is a clear route to expanding economic opportunity. Yet much of our public discourse ends there. Of course more young Americans need better education in order to succeed. But what kind of education? Is the goal “college for all”? What do we mean by “college”? Do our young people mostly need a strong foundation in academics? What about so-called “non-cognitive” skills? Should technical education make a comeback? 

Education for Upward Mobility provides fresh ideas for policymakers at every level of government; for leaders and policy analysts in education reform organizations; for philanthropists and associations; and for local superintendents and school board members. It combines the latest research evidence on relevant topics with in-depth explorations of promising practices on the ground, in real places, achieving real successes.

Chapters include:

  • “Education and the ‘Success Sequence,’” by Ron Haskins
  • “Big Payoff, Low Probability: Postsecondary Education and Economic Mobility in America,” by Andrew Kelly
  • “The Certification Revolution,” by Tamar Jacoby
  • “How Apprenticeship Approaches Can Spur Upward Mobility in the United States,” by Robert Lerman
  • “Small High Schools of Choice,” by Peter Meyer
  • “College-Prep High Schools for the Poor,” by Joanne Jacobs
  • “High-Quality Career and Technical Education,” by Robert Schwartz and Nancy Hoffman
  • “Starting at Five is Too Late: Early Childhood Education and Upward Mobility,” by Elliot Regenstein, Bryce Marable, and Jelene Britton
  • “Poverty-Fighting Elementary Schools: Knowledge Acquisition is Job One,” by Robert Pondiscio
  • “Tracking in Middle School,” by Tom Loveless

Education for Upward Mobility is published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers and is available to purchase on its website or Amazon.

Launch Event:
"Education for Upward Mobility: The Reform Conservative's Education Agenda"

Policy Priority:

Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, executive editor of Education Next, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States. An award-winning writer, he…

View Full Bio