Robert Putnam on the American Dream

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. PutnamLast week, Harvard University Professor Robert D. Putnam visited Kansas City to discuss his latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, which details the growing opportunity gap affecting American youth, and its implications for social mobility.

Prior to his presentation at the Kansas City Public Library, Putnam spoke to a small group of Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors and guests. While he admitted that the future he outlines in Our Kids may appear bleak, Putnam remains optimistic that we can narrow the wide opportunity gap we currently face in the U.S. The reason for his optimism? Putnam points out that thanks to the high school movement in the early 20th century, public secondary schools opened across the country, giving more children access to more education than ever before.

Robert Putnam speaking to Community Foundation donors at a private reception. A believer that education is a great leveler, Putnam gave his most promising solution. He insists that we need to ensure our youngest citizens have access to high-quality early education, an initiative currently on Kansas City’s radar.

Putnam encouraged all attendees to read his follow-up report to Our Kids, Closing the Opportunity Gap, which contains evidence-based ideas and solutions. If you were unable to attend last week’s event, we encourage you to listen to Robert Putnam’s interview on KCUR and check out our album of photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Robert D. Putnam’s visit was supported by the Victor L. and Helen B. Regnier Fund, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Black Community Fund, the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund and the Kansas City Public Library.

Grow Your Giving Communications Specialist Sidney Peterson


Authored by: Sidney Peterson, Communications & Events Specialist