ON-Lion Letter
Education for Upward Mobility, edited by Michael J. Petrilli, seeks answers to a fundamental question, perhaps one of the most-important questions in America today:  How can we help children born into poverty transcend their disadvantages and enter the middle class as adults?  And in particular, what role can our schools play? 

Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports Fordham Institute projects.

There's little doubt that education and opportunity are tightly joined in the 21st Century economy, the books contributors note.  Almost every week brings a new study demonstrating that highly skilled workers are being rewarded with stronger pay and excellent working conditions, while Americans with few skills are struggling mightily. 

Expanding educational achievement, then, appears to be a clear route to expanding economic opportunity.  Yet much of our public discourse ends there.  Of course more young Americans need better education in order to succeed, but what kind of education?  Is the goal "college for all"?  What do we mean by "college"?  Do our young people mostly need a strong foundation in academics?  What about so-called "non-cognitive" skills?  Should technical education make a comeback? 

The contributors to Education for Upward Mobility provide fresh perspectives and concrete ideas -- for policymakers at every level of government, leaders and policy analysts in education-reform organizations in the states and in Washington, philanthropists and membership associations, and local superintendents and school-board members.  It combines the latest research evidence on relevant topics with in-depth explorations of promising practices on the ground, in real places, achieving real successes.
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