Giving Compass’ Take:
• Christensen Institute discusses the “opportunity gaps” in our education and youth development system: Many students who could have promising careers never get exposed to the resources that can help them.
• What can nonprofits and foundations do to close these gaps? Are we reaching enough young people in low-income areas and giving them the chance to succeed?
Stanford researcher Raj Chetty came out with yet another new study on the jagged landscape of opportunity gaps facing America. Analyzing the relationship between young people’s exposure to innovation and the likelihood that they would go on to become inventors, the study highlights an alarming rate of what the authors dub “lost Einsteins”: young people who show promising potential but who, due to lack of exposure to innovation, appear far less likely to pursue careers as inventors.
Perhaps unsurprisingly these gaps fall along demographic lines. Children from high-income (top 1%) families are ten times as likely to become inventors as those from below-median income families.
The study underscores a fundamental truth about opportunity: it depends, at least in part, on our inherited networks. They can propel some young people into certain careers, but keep others out.
I’ve been tracking tools and models that expand students’ access to relationships that might otherwise be out of reach — because of where they live, their family’s networks, or the structures of the schools they attend.
What about those geographies where a diverse array of industry experts and mentors are harder to come by? In these cases the most promising innovations may be those that allow students to diversify their connections to experts online.
Read the full article on opportunity gaps by Julia Freeland Fisher at Christensen Institute.
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