Saturday, September 23, 2006

Opportunity in America: The Role of Education

Stagnating incomes for the middle class together with rising income
inequality have raised questions about whether the United States remains
the land of opportunity celebrated in the nation's history and public
philosophy. This brief, written by Isabel Sawhill, reviews the evidence
on intergenerational mobility and the role of education in enabling less
advantaged children to move up the economic ladder. It concludes that,
in many respects, the U.S. education system tends to reinforce rather
than compensate for differences in family background. Strengthening
opportunity requires greater, and more effective, investments in
education, especially for America's youngest children. The public views
education as the great leveler. Education is, in the eyes of many, a way
of breaking the link between family or socioeconomic background and a
child's chance to succeed (or fail) later in life.

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