The National Issue
We as a country are experiencing what Dr. Robert D. Putnam, author and professor of public policy at Harvard University, calls the opportunity gap. In his book “Our Kids, The American Dream in Crisis,” Putnam explains that our country is increasingly dividing in two. While some kids are gaining access to more opportunities than ever before, others are experiencing mounting social and economic barriers to reaching their potential.
Our kids are now growing up in separate and unequal Americas, their fates increasingly and unfairly tied to the zip code in which they are born.
According to Putnam, the opportunity gap is being fueled by family structures that have become increasingly fragile, disappearing jobs and a nationwide diminished sense of community. We are moving further and further away from each other emotionally. Putnam points out that two generations ago, when people used the expression “our kids,” they meant our community’s or our nation’s children, but now the term has shriveled to refer only to our biological children.
This narrowing in our collective responsibility for our nation’s children has made the opportunity gap one of today’s most pressing issues.
OUR PROMISE TO ALL OUR KIDS
When we rise for our kids, we all rise. So I promise to:
Recognize the growing gap between those with opportunity and those without
Initiate action to effect change, one life at a time
Share stories and resources with my family, neighbors and community
Empower all kids to have equal opportunities to live up to their potential, independent of place and race
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