IA Paper: Opportunity Gap is Presidential Issue

The Des Moines Register is urging prospective Iowa caucus participants to consider the “opportunity gap” as one of the two most important economic issues distinguishing candidates in presidential candidate selection contests next February.

The decision by Iowa’s paper of record to highlight the opportunity gap may have been influenced by an event sponsored by Every Child Matters earlier this year at Drake University featuring Harvard scholar/author Robert Putnam.

In this year’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, Putnam argues that growing inequality of income and wealth in America are hardening into disparity of opportunity. That is morally wrong, damaging to national economic performance and corrosive of political stability, he says.

Putnam argued during his July presentation, attended by nearly 600 Iowans, that the issues of Our Kids belong at the forefront of debate in the 2015-16 election cycle. He made the same point at a Des Moines Register editorial board meeting arranged by Every Child Matters and Drake later in the day.

Every Child Matters agrees. We’ve focused throughout the year in Iowa and New Hampshire on the growing gaps in family life, parenting, schooling and community life between affluent kids and poorer kids in America.

Every Child Matters also agrees with Putnam’s conclusion that the opportunity gap threatens the American Dream and that “purple” policies such as better incomes, early childhood education, quality child care and paid leave can be keys to addressing the problem.

Check out the Des Moines Register’s caucus-issue coverage, and please also add your voice to Every Child Matters’ new, national Digital Dialogue on issues affecting children in the presidential campaign.

Let’s make sure candidates give kids the same priority we do!