The demands on the American education system are greater than ever. Schooling shapes the minds of our citizens and voters, powers our economy, and remains our most important source of upward mobility. Our educational opportunity project seeks both to offer avenues to improve the quality of schooling for all, as well as to redress the inequalities that leave too many of our less advantaged students behind. Current reforms have identified gaps and directed attention toward remedying them; our project seeks to build off this political momentum and join the next generation of reformers in identifying the policies that will allow us to achieve the laudable goals of higher standards for all.
Our project also encompasses higher education, where the middle class faces an ever-growing tuition crunch, while inequities in access to college are as great as they have ever been. We will offer a series of proposals of how to rethink financial aid for higher education in such a way that it meets the needs of middle class and poor students alike. We seek to offer proposals that will prove popular with voters across class lines, address long-standing inefficiencies in current approaches, and decrease long-standing inequities in college access. We also address the critical but much less discussed question of retention, as recent research suggests that more than 80% of students who begin higher education do not graduate. Our project will seek to identify the sources of the retention problem, and offer research-informed proposals aiming to increase the level of degree completion.