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The Opportunity Gap

Conversation Guide

Generally speaking, opportunity gap refers to inputs (the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities), while achievement gap refers to outputs (the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits). America prides itself on creating the opportunity for all citizens to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” We aspire to have a fair playing field and want every child to have the opportunity to succeed. There are strong indicators that we are not living up to our aspirations. Many communities and individuals are experiencing a tilted playing field. How can we respond?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on The Opportunity Gap?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • Have you personally observed that there is an opportunity gap?
  • Do you believe there is a public need to create equal opportunities for all our young community members?
  • Do you have ideas for how we might diminish the obstacles to success that some communities face?
  • What opportunities have or have not been available to you?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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Thank You!

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