Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Report Details Unequal Access to American Dream

By Alyssa Morones — November 06, 2013 2 min read

From guest blogger Alyssa Morones

For children across the nation, the ability to live out the “American Dream” may be more dependent on their individual zip codes than their national identity, according to the latest Opportunity Index report.

The Index was created by Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan national campaign made up of businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals with the mission of improving economic mobility and closing the American opportunity gap.

Using data collected during the most recent census and other surveys, the Opportunity Index looks at a variety of economic, education, and community factors to measure the condition of opportunity and economic mobility in the United States. These indicators included internet access, college graduation rates, income inequality, and public safety, among others.

It analyzes the data at the federal, state, and local levels, ultimately finding that an individual’s zip code can be an important determining factor in his or her successful pursuit of the “American Dream,” based on how each of the indicators measured out at the local level.

The index also highlighted the interconnected nature of factors affecting economic mobility in the nation, as they applied to every zip code. The rates of wages, poverty, affordable housing, early-childhood education, and high school graduation, among other factors, all impact a child’s future economic mobility and achievement, according to the index.

“Jobs alone will not create opportunity,” said Mark Edwards, the executive director of Opportunity Nation, during a forum in Washington on Tuesday to report and discuss the implications of the Opportunity Index and the factors affecting upward mobility for Americans.

For example, even though the national unemployment rate decreased by 20 percent since the first opportunity index was measured three years ago, the index also indicated that the nation became poorer, with 49 states reporting an increase in poverty and 45 experiencing a drop in the median household income in 2013.

Youth data was of particular significance to measures of opportunity.

According to the Opportunity Index Report, 5.8 million young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor working. While, over all, the opportunity index has risen 2.6 percent in the past three years, this number has held fairly steady.

Education, of course, can play a role in alleviating this job gap, according to Mr. Edwards.

“Education has to be more connected to work,” he said. “There needs to be a strong partnership between the two.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read