President Obama recently described the lack of upward social mobility, along with inequality, as “the defining challenge of our time.” Concerns are growing on both sides of the political aisle that for too many Americans, birth defines destiny. Rates of social mobility in the U.S. are lower than in most comparable nations. The question is: what can be done?
On January 13 (Horatio Alger’s 182nd birthday), the Center on Children and Families hosted its first annual Social Mobility Summit, with scholars, policymakers and leading politicians focused on the policy challenges posed by stagnant rates of social mobility.
The Social Mobility Summit opened with a public keynote address from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) from 9:00 to 9:30 am, and closed with a public keynote address from Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) from 4:00 to 4:30 pm. Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Ryan each layed out their personal vision for how we can promote social mobility in the U.S. today.
During the day, the Center on Children and Families is holding a series of private working sessions with leading scholars. Each session addressed a critical life stage for the promotion of social mobility: family formation, the early years, K-12 education, college education, and transitions into work. Blog posts based on presentations made at these sessions are available on the Social Mobility Memos blog following the event.
Join the conversation on Twitter at #mobilitysummit.