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Robert D. Putnam | Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Events | Headline and Cultural Forums

It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success.  This is the America we were raised to believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort.  However the last 25 years have witnessed a widening “opportunity gap” emerging.  With Our Kids, Robert D. Putnam (bestselling author of Bowling Alone, a seminal work on the decline of social interaction in America), delves into a far-reaching examination of the root causes of this perilous gap.

The rising inequality gap in America will likely be a major issue in the 2016 elections. What can be done about this crisis?  What will it take for our civic leaders to reach across boundaries of party and ideology to offer more opportunity to all American children. As a leading expert on the topic, Putnam has been consulted by politicians as disparate as President Obama, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Paul Ryan - and has some clear prescriptive solutions - both top-down and bottom-up. Drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book, Putnam considers the opportunity's trajectory beginning with  his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio; and follows  the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country,  The result is a rare combination of compelling first-hand narratives and authoritative evidence that David Gergen calls, “Must reading from the White House to your house.”

The 2015 Visiting SAGE event is co-presented by Literary Arts and the Chalkboard Project with a reception sponsored by Beneficial State Bank. Promotional sponsors include the Coalition for a Livable Future, Onward Oregon, SMART, and World Affairs Council of Oregon. Venue sponsor is the First Congregational United Church of Christ.

SAGE is a Portland-based nonprofit organization that inspires people over fifty to live a legacy of service and advocacy for younger and future generations. The Visiting SAGE speaker series inspires people to find new pathways to civic leadership and service. Learn more at

$20/$40 | For tickets: Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or CLICK HERE

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