SSN Commentary

Reassessing Education and the American Dream

Policy field

Connect with the author

Originally published as "Reassessing Education and the American Dream," Newsweek, August 31, 2022.

As the start of another school year arrives, millions of Americans will head off to college with the dream of getting a degree that will help them achieve economic security. But such dreams will not become reality for everyone.

Historical structures and outcomes undercut the long-held assumption that a good education offers a meaningful pathway out of poverty and second-class citizenship for people of color. In fact, new research shows that the higher people of color go up the socioeconomic ladder, the wider the gap in their earnings relative to white people.