Opportunity Gap

Children of the more affluent and less affluent are raised in starkly different ways and are given access to vastly different opportunities.

Over the last 40 years, lower income families have increased spending on structured learning opportunities and enrichment to $480 per year, whereas upper income parents have increased their spending to nearly $5,300 per year; that’s more than 10 times the opportunity being given to low-income students.


In 1972, kids from the bottom quartile of earners participated in roughly the same number of activities as kids from the top quartile. Today, it’s a chasm. Richer kids are roughly twice as likely to play after-school sports. They are more than twice as likely to be the captains of their sports teams. They are much more likely to do nonsporting activities, like theater, yearbook and scouting.
Source: Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. The Opportunity Gap. New York Times OpEd. July 9, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/opinion/brooks-the-opportunity-gap.html


The Generation Schools Model increases opportunity for all students and levels the playing field for low-income and minority students.

What if...

  • Schools had the time to focus on whole-student development during the school day, thereby closing the opportunity gap encountered by low-income and minority students?
  • Students had regular exposure during the school year to a state’s colleges, industries, and professionals that are succeeding in the 21st century workforce?
  • Students had opportunities within an extended school day and year to explore arts, sports and leadership opportunities?