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Improving the Effectiveness of Investments in Youth and Young Adults

Further Reading

Jamie Hall and Mary Clare Amselem, "Time to Reform Higher Education Financing and Accreditation"

Laura and John Arnold Foundation, "Evidence Summary for Nurse Family Partnership"

EdChoice, “Fast Facts on School Choice” 

Oren Cass, "How the Other Half Learns" 

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The COVID-19 pandemic altered the lives of every family in America and particularly affected American families with school-aged children. In March 2020, every school district in the country closed and transitioned to remote learning, and this posed new challenges for parents, teachers, and students. The virus persisted throughout the fall and winter, and so have the associated challenges for families and children.
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The American education system makes it difficult for parents to individually tailor their children’s educational experience. Most families are defaulted into a one-size-fits-all model, designed in the age of assembly lines, and no longer fit for era of technological disruption.
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For two years, the Social Capital Project has documented trends in associational life—what we do together—and its distribution across the country. With this evidentiary base established, the Project turns to the development of a policy agenda rooted in social capital. Specifically, the focus will be to craft an agenda to expand opportunity by strengthening families, communities, and civil society.
The share of prime-age men—between the ages of 25 and 54—that is neither working nor looking for work has been rising for decades. This rise has left an increasing number of men outside the world of work, historically an important source of social capital. Research suggests that these men often have especially constricted associational lives.

This report is intended to enrich our understanding of who these prime-age "inactive" men are. It summarizes evidence from past research and fills out our picture of these men, providing some details about their past and present social and emotional lives. We introduce an under-utilized dataset little-known to economists and sociologists, the "National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III," or NESARC-III.
Social capital is almost surely an important factor driving many of our nation’s greatest successes and most serious challenges. Indeed, the withering of associational life is itself one of those challenges. Public policy solutions to such challenges are inherently elusive. But at present, policymakers and researchers lack the high-quality contemporary measures of social capital available at the state and local levels to even try proposing solutions that are attuned to associational life.