Fighting to restore the American Dream to more Americans, particularly our young people, and expanding economic mobility and well-being to more communities are worthy objectives that have garnered enthusiastic bi-partisan support.
Education has been the primary lever of upward mobility in America for decades, and it is truer now than ever. Yet, as the demands on schools to impart 21st century skills have increased, school quality has not kept apace across the country, and 7,000 students drop out of high school each school day.
In a free society, some inequality is unavoidable. But inequality without mobility amounts to a caste system, and when the circumstances of one’s birth become an inescapable fate, it is not only economically inefficient, it is unjust.
Jobs and the Economy
If America wants to remain competitive in the global economy, we will have to expand our supply of middle- and high-skill workers.
Communities in distress and with a high concentration of poverty offer limited educational opportunity, poor health outcomes, higher prices for goods and services and reduced opportunity for wealth building.
For millions of Americans, the pathways to success have become overgrown and unmarked. With these developments comes a disturbing human cost; nearly one in three Americans – 100 million people – live in poverty or near poverty, and around 50 percent of all children in the rising generation will spend at least a year receiving food stamps.
Reclaiming the American Dream
Opportunity and social mobility define America. It is a core value of our nation that where you start in life on the economic ladder should not determine how high you climb. But that model is now being questioned.