Robert Putnam on the Crumbling American Dream


Diane Ravitch's blog

This is one of the most powerful articles I have read in a long time.

Robert Putnam describes life in his home town of Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,059, as he was growing up in the 50s.

Port Clinton was “ a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike.”

But today, “wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.

“Growing up, almost all my classmates lived with two parents in homes their parents owned and in neighborhoods where everyone knew everyone else’s first name. Some dads worked in the local…

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