achievement gap

Dustin Dwyer

We are still a long way from gender equality in the United States. Women currently make less money than men, even when working the same job. And when it comes to getting the top jobs, women are less likely to make the climb

But there's one area where women have not only caught up with men, they've pulled ahead: education.

Equity and Excellence Commission

 We know, and have known for some time, that not every child in America gets the same shot at a good education. We know that children with darker skin are the ones most likely to get left behind. 

For the past two years, a 27-member commission has quietly been working on a report to suggest ways for the federal government to address the problem. The group, known as the Equity and Excellence Commission, released its final report to education secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday. 

The report has recommendations in five main areas. You can read them all here

But what I found most surprising is that the commission attempted to actually put a dollar figure on how much educational inequality is costing our country. And the cost is measured in trillions

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Just when you thought the Republican and Democratic national conventions were over...

I'm here to talk about an event that took place behind the scenes at one of the conventions -- specifically the DNC in Charlotte, NC. Between all the speeches and sound bites and people in funny hats mugging for the camera, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held a symposium in Charlotte, where they released a 47-page report on the profound achievement and opportunity gaps that African American males face.

The "Challenge the Status Quo" report looks at not only those factors that impede academic progress for black male students, but also what can be done about it. 

You can check out the full report here, which is packed with data and research from a wide range of studies. Meantime, here are a few highlights:

woman in cap and gown
Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

We've been taking a look at what research can tell us about getting ahead in America. Last week, we brought you "Five facts about achieving the American Dream." This week, we're keeping the format, but changing the focus. Here's our list of five ways to improve opportunity for disadvantaged kids:

1. Start in the home.

So let’s meet Angela Ducket, and her daughter, Aurora.

user Seattleye / Flickr

Right now, nearly a quarter of all kids in Michigan live in poverty. We want to believe these kids will have an equal shot at success in life, but there’s a pile of research that suggests otherwise.

So, how is life different for kids growing up in poverty?

Let’s try to imagine the life of a child. We’ll call him Jacob.