Our Kids

The American Dream in Crisis (2015.3)


关于本书 About the book

Central to the very idea of America is the principle that we are a nation of opportunity. But over the last quarter century we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. We Americans have always believed that those who have talent and try hard will succeed, but this central tenet of the American Dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.

In Our Kids, Robert Putnam offers a personal and authoritative look at this new American crisis, beginning with the example of his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. The vast majority of those students went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have faced diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, brilliantly blended with the latest social-science research.

本书金句 Key insights

● There is an increased likelihood of lower class kids living with a single parent or a chaotic family plagued by shifting partners and financial pressures, all of which have a demonstrated connection to decreased educational success.

● While poorer parents struggle to prepare their children for life, well-educated and affluent parents are much more likely to learn about good parenting techniques and to employ them. But they also have the time and money necessary to give their children higher-quality out-of-school educational opportunities.

● That’s because neighborhoods across the country have grown increasingly socially homogenous over the past few decades, many being drawn along distinct class lines.

● Though the majority of American high school students will graduate, academic achievement across the board is anything but equal. Not all high schools offer the same opportunities. Unsurprisingly, the best schools often cater to wealthy students.

● Political change may be crucial, but everyone can pitch in today.