Americans want to believe that the United States is the land of opportunity. We want a nation where one’s talents and effort determine outcomes, not one’s circumstances at birth. Education, in particular, is held up as the path that is supposed to carry people to success—the ladder, in other words, that Americans are expected to climb. And, yet, evidence today reveals that educational attainment depends more on family financial standing than student aptitude. Schools are vastly unequal by income and race, but they do not have to be. Crafting solutions begins with unmasking education’s inequity and committing ourselves to making it a truly potent force for economic mobility.
Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI), Institute for Policy and Social Research (IPSR), University of Kansas Provost Office, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation