America’s education system is failing our children, particularly low-income students and students of color. And, unless we fix education, we cannot fix inequality. Living Cities is working with cross-sector leaders in cities to re-engineer education, cradle to career.

Many Americans are not fully prepared to compete in today’s global, hyper-connected economy, and, for low-income students, the outlook is especially grim. A Boston College study of 57 countries showed, among other unflattering comparisons, that only 7% of U.S. students (versus 48% of students in Singapore) reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math. Meanwhile, a 2012 Brookings study showed that “a whopping 43% of job openings require a bachelor’s degree or more.” Yet, only 30% of Americans and 15% of Latinos, our nation’s fastest growing demographic, have the credentials.

Job Openings

43% of job openings require a bachelor’s degree or more. Yet, only 30% of Americans and 15% of Latinos have the credentials.

We’ve seen firsthand the impact of distributed and networked leadership on producing better educational outcomes through our support of the viral Strive Network. Partnerships based on the Strive Together model (a Roadmap to Success that plots a student’s journey from early education all the way to a career) are forming in cities all over the country, focused on building multi-sector “tables” to ensure the success of every student. These tables adopt a shared vision and use a combination of data-driven decision-making and public accountability to drive results and move funding to programs that work.

What promising trends are you seeing in your city in the area of education? Add your thoughts 

And, we know that disruptive technologies have the potential to break old educational habits and make way for a system that will better prepare our young people for the future while leveling the socioeconomic playing field. Our CEO, Ben Hecht, reflected on five trends that could re-establish education as the “great equalizer” in FastCoExist.

What promising trends are you seeing in your city in the area of education? We look forward to hearing from you.