The Challenge

This is why it’s in the interest of all Americans to work towards a solution.
And it’s the reason EDREDESIGN exists.

The American Dream is slipping away

The American Dream has always been that anyone can succeed through hard work and determination. But in America today, the reality is that access to opportunity is limited-especially for kids in families with lower incomes.

To reverse this trend, we need to rethink education

More than ever before, living a decent life requires a good education. And, for kids growing up in America today, the chances of getting a good education depend largely on their family’s income. Redesigning the education system so it works for low-income kids as well as it does for their affluent peers would change everything.

Our education system was built for a different era.

In the early 20th century, we had an industrial economy with a massive demand for unskilled labor. The vast majority of Americans never graduated from high school. Now we have a knowledge-driven economy in which most jobs require a college education. But we still have an education system designed half a century before the first televisions arrived in American homes.

Affluent kids get what they need to succeed—and others don’t. Here’s why

In early childhood, the most important phase of human development, low-income kids have less access to learning experiences and more exposure to stress, in the form of adverse childhood experiences.

They are less likely to be ready for school by age 5—and, throughout their school years, they won’t have the afterschool and summer enrichment opportunities that are critical to the success of kids in affluent families.

Higher family income also enables greater access to healthcare and counseling—as well as social capital, which refers to the collective value of all social networks of which one is a part.

What about all of the education reform efforts of the past 35 years?

Beginning in 1983, when a Presidential Comission released the report A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, business and government leaders have demanded that we educate all children to a level previously reserved for the elite few.

The resulting efforts have made some improvements, but nowhere near what is needed. These efforts assumed that we could retrofit the old system rather than replace it—focusing entirely inside the schools. And they naively underestimated the impact of poverty on students.

America is at a critical moment.

The need to take drastic action in rethinking our education system has reached a critical point.

The essence of what America represents hangs in the balance. Already, we have lost the idea at the core of the American dream: that anyone can succeed here, simply through hard work and determination.

Without change, the country our children and grandchildren inherit will have far more severe and pervasive challenges, including a majority of the population that lacks the education they need-and a critical shortage of human capital to compete in the global economy.

Our Vision

What will it take to make this better

Dig Deeper