Robert D. Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University.
Robert Putnam's talk will draw from his forthcoming book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, scheduled for release by Simon and Schuster on or around March 10, 2015:
The American Dream of equal opportunity is threatened by a growing gap between kids from the upper third of the social hierarchy and their peers from the lower third.
Over the last several decades young people from college-educated homes and those from high-school educated homes have diverged on many factors predicting life success: Two-parent homes, parental investments of time and money, test scores, physical health, participation in extracurricular and religious activities, school quality, college entrance and completion.
Kids from low-income homes of all races are increasingly adrift from family, school, church, and community institutions, in a perfect storm with multiple causes: economic insecurity and stress, the collapse of the working class family, and the unraveling fabric in low-income neighborhoods.
This problem poses serious economic, social, political and moral challenges.