The Metropolitan Center for Research on
Equity and the Transformation of Schools

The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools

Citizen Schools Saturday,November 1,2014

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In this new book, founding CEO of Citizen Schools Eric Schwarz shares his vision for reducing inequality by pairing successful adults with low-income students. Parental wealth now predicts adult success more than at any point in the last hundred years. Too many people fix the blame on one of two convenient scapegoats: poverty or our public schools, but in fact, low-income kids are learning more now than ever. The real culprit for rising inequality, Eric Schwarz argues in The Opportunity Equation, is that wealthier kids are learning much, much more – mostly outside of school. Schwarz tells the story of how he founded Citizen Schools to bring these same opportunities to low-income children by increasing learning time in schools and harnessing the power of an army of volunteers with various skills and professional backgrounds – lawyers, engineers, carpenters, journalists, nonprofit leaders, and grandmothers who sew – in after-school apprenticeships that provide the building blocks for adult success. Citizen Schools show that some of the nation’s lowest-performing schools in its lowest-income cities can, with help, provide their students with many of the same experiences wealthy communities afford to their children.