What happened to “the land of opportunity”?
The promise of the American Dream—that anyone, regardless of his or her origin, has the possibility of a prospective future. This notion has always been one of the keys to our country’s success. But, over the last several decades a disquieting opportunity gap has emerged, reflecting a lack of possibility specifically because of one’s socio-economic background.
Harvard Professor Robert D. Putnam, delineates the narrative of this crisis in his book, Our Kids. The stories in Our Kids illustrate the lack of equality in the United States. Dr. Putnam is both a passionate storyteller and a master analyst. His book is a combination of authoritative evidence, and moving personal narratives. In Dr. Putnam’s book suggestions are given to instruct ways that may arrest this decline, and restore the chance for something greater in the lives of our children.
The Our Kids Media Project is a national wake-up call. It will call attention to the crisis of ignorance, indifference, and inaction. As important, the project profile ongoing best practice solutions from across the country.
Dr. Putnam will host this audacious and thought-provoking television series, which highlights the best practice solutions from around the country. We will hear from parents, teachers, community activists, business leaders, experts, and from the children themselves acting as local journalists and on-camera reporters.
Program topics will include:
- The role and importance of family, school, and community;
- Healthcare reform, and access to medical care for all children;
- Combating substance abuse;
- Maintaining good health through proper diet, nutrition, and exercise;
- The challenge of combating childhood obesity;
- Reaching out to those who need our help the most—those suffering from the impact of poverty,
- racial discrimination, violence, abuse, unequal justice, and environmental injustice.
We will define how these various forces negatively impact children, and how they can be mitigated.
In one facet of our community action activities, we will devise an Opportunities Report Card and Tool Kit, which concerned parents, educators, mentors, coaches, legislators, and community leaders can use to monitor our nation’s progress towards leveling the playing field for all of our nation’s children.
Dr. Putnam is the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012, he received the National Humanities Medal. The Sunday Times of London has called him “the most influential academic in the world.” Professor Putnam participated in our Edens Lost & Found PBS Series, and our Going to Green educational series.