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Review of Literature 

Research Foundations for the Chicago Learning Exchange   

Learning Equity Gaps 


 
Since  the  1970s,  the  amount  of  money  higher-income  parents  spend  on  their  child’s 
out-of-school  activities  has  increased  to  nearly  $5,000  more  than  lower-income 
parents  ($5,300  vs.  $480  in  2012).  This  translates  to  every  $1  lower-income  parents 
spend  on  their  child’s  out-of-school  activities,  higher  income  parents  spend  slightly 
more than $11—more than 11 times as much. (Bennett, Lutz, and Jayaram 2012, p3) 
 
 
Over the last 60 years, di erences in educational achievement, from standardized test scores to 
college admission to college graduation, between youth from poor families and youth from 
wealthy families has grown exponentially (Bailey and Dynarski 2011; Reardon 2011). 
Increasingly, researchers point to the unequal distribution of educational resources and 
opportunities as the cause of this disparity in educational achievement (e.g. Broh 2002; Kosteas 
2010; Lleras 2008; McNeal 1995; Putnam, 2015; Troutman and Dufur 2007). One dimension of 
this ‘opportunity gap’ is access to out of school time learning (OST) experiences. Research 
suggests that complementing schooling through programs that occur in informal learning, or 
OST, spaces (e.g. libraries, museums, or afterschool programs) is instrumental in cultivating 
young people’s interests, educational dispositions, and civic identities. However, a uent teens 
have more opportunities than their less a uent peers to access rich learning experiences both 
in and out of school (Covay & Carbonaro, 2010; Neuman and Celano 2012; Putnam 2015).  
 
While the opportunity gap has been much discussed in both research and in the popular press, 
for our purposes the overarching definition is too broad to more precisely guide our 
interventions. To this end, we looked across the literature and relied on interviews and field 
observations of young people who participated in learning experiences in Chicago and New York
1
to find commonalities in how they access educational opportunity. We focused on identifying 
barriers young people faced when attending in-person learning experiences and connecting 
those experiences to real world opportunity. Through this process, we identified a series of gaps 
that impede young people’s ability to create a meaningful learning ecosystem. At each level 
more young people, based on their own descriptions - either drop out or are left behind and are 
unable to advance to the next, deeper stage.  
 
Additionally, our work is grounded in connected learning, a research-based, progressive 
pedagogical model. This model holds that when interests, relationships, and real world 
opportunities come together (specifically, academic, career, and civic opportunities), learning 
for young people is most robust and life changing (Ito et al, 2013). To avoid confusion between 
1
This review of literature builds on research conducted by Dr. Kiley Larson as part of New York University’s Connecting 
Youth: Digital Learning Research Project, which examined a range of informal educational institutions, including Hive 
Chicago, Hive NYC, and YOUmedia spaces across the country over five years (in press). 
 
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the language of ‘opportunity gap’ and ‘opportunity’ as defined within the connected learning 
framework, we use the term learning equity gaps to refer to the series of gaps that impede young 
people’s ability to build a supportive context for their learning.  
 

Awareness Gap 
The first gap occurs around young people’s awareness of the learning experiences being o ered 
in their city, including experiences that happen on school grounds and those that happen at 
cultural and youth development organizations. Wealthy families’ social and cultural capital 
positions them to learn about and access various out-of-school activities (Bennett, Lutz, and 
Jayaram 2012) in a way that families with fewer resources cannot match. This was also borne 
out in interviews with young people; those who grew up in low-income households had 
di culty identifying their own interests and were less aware of learning experiences around 
them that could support those interests.  
 

Access Gap 
Awareness of available learning experiences is just the first step for a young person to have a 
meaningful learning experience. Once young people are aware of the experiences in their 
communities, they need to be able to access those experiences, which includes both 
transportation and other associated costs. Youth who are economically disadvantaged are far 
less able to access learning experiences than their wealthier counterparts (Beck and Jennings 
1982; Marsh 1992; Marsh and Kleitman 2002; Putnam 2015). This di erence in access has been 
exacerbated by the pressure to cut costs that many school districts face. As this pressure 
increases, seemingly non-scholastic activities, like sports and clubs, are often eliminated in 
favor of funding only the subjects tested in school. While schools from across the economic 
spectrum have been forced to cut back, schools in wealthier districts have been able to o set 
these cuts by soliciting private donations (Reich 2005). And while wealthier parents can a ord 
to donate to expensive extracurricular programs, less-a uent parents are often unable to help 
make up the shortfall between public funding and program costs. Even more troubling, many 
school districts are introducing “pay to play” programs that have transformed activities, like 
sports, into a luxury only wealthy families can a ord (Bennett, Lutz, and Jayaram 2012; Putnam 
2015; Rausch 2006). This trend in replicated in the OST space, where parents in low-income 
households were more likely to report costs and safe transportation as barriers to program 
access than their counterparts from a uent families (After School Alliance, 2014). The stark 
divide in access to interest-driven programming between a uent and low-income youth 
makes the work of the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) increasingly urgent.  
 

Attendance Gap 
In interviews, youth described a host of reasons that prevent them from attending learning 
experiences that they are aware of and that they have the resources to access. For some, it was a 
perceived lack of prosocial connection that created an internalized barrier that stopped them 
from going to a learning experience. Prosocial connectedness occurs when people perceive that 
they and others like them are safe, cared for, acknowledged, trusted, and empowered within a 
given context (Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Whitlock, 2006). While these perceptions are 

 
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fundamentally linked to the qualities of the context of the learning experience, they are still 
grounded in individual experiences. Even the most seemingly welcoming spaces can be seen by 
young people as alienating if those spaces do not fit their personal needs (Eccles et al., 1993). 
However, we know that when the culture and identities of non-dominant youth are supported, 
it’s possible to cultivate an environment grounded in diversity and respect which serves to 
elevate both youth and the adults that support them (Larson et al., 2013). Beyond these 
psychological barriers, youth also described conflicting school and work responsibilities as 
reasons that they were unable to attend a learning experience. Still others would not commit to 
learning experiences because they wanted to spend their limited downtime hanging out with 
their friends.  
 

Engagement Gap 
Once a young person attends a learning experience, the depth at which they participate varies 
widely. This di erence in participation was evident in both observations of classrooms and 
informal learning experiences, and in interviews with young people who described various 
levels of engagement (Arum, Larson, & Meyers, in press). For these young people, learning 
experiences where they felt the adults cared about them, where they were able to connect the 
learning to their future goals, and that were interest-driven were the most motivating (Ito et al, 
2013). While youth more often reported feeling disengaged in classroom settings, some also felt 
this way about OST learning experiences.  
 
Newmann (1992), defined student engagement as making a “psychological investment in 
learning. They try hard to learn what school o ers. They take pride not simply in earning the 
formal indicators of success (grades), but in understanding the material and incorporating or 
internalizing it in their lives” (pp. 2–3). Research has shown that students who are engaged in 
their in-classroom learning are more likely to stay in school, graduate with the skills they need 
for the workforce or postsecondary education, and develop a greater understanding for how to 
be a civically engaged adult (Gallup, 2014; Jackson & Zmuda, 2014; Quaglia Institute, 2014; Voke, 
2002). As Stipek (1996) puts it, engaged students are more likely to approach tasks eagerly and 
to persist in the face of di culty.  
 
Scholars have also taken issue with characterizing student engagement as a fixed condition. 
Instead, Du y and Elwood argue that “young people move in and out of levels of engagement 
and can simultaneously be both engaged and experience disengagement.” (Du y & Elwood, 
2013, p 123). Ito et al more roundly criticize disengagement literature that describes lack of 
engagement as student deficiency. They argue that disengagement is not a student attribute, 
but rather stems from a lack of “stories, identities, activities, and organization roles that are 
open and available” to youth (Ito et al, 2015, p 26). The problem might not be that youth are 
disengaged, because they often demonstrate tremendous engagement in other areas, but rather 
that there are “critical disconnects between the social, cultural, and institutional worlds of 
youth and adults” (Ito et al, 2015, p 26). To this end, CLX promotes connected learning as an 
approach to working with young people that has been shown to increase engagement and 
promote positive academic outcomes (Arum, Larson, & Meyers, in press).  
 

 
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Learning Pathways Gap 
Young people engage in learning across a wide variety of spaces, including after school 
programs, summer camps, museums, libraries and community centers. While specialized 
programs may focus upon skills and learning outcomes, the act of brokering relationships to 
people, resources and forms of social and cultural capital represents one of the most important 
roles that adults in these institutions play in young people’s lives. “Brokering” (Ching et al, 
2015) occurs when educators actively link their youth to other programs and learning 
experiences. Indeed, one of the key findings of a review of digital media and technology use in 
youth-serving organizations reinforces the importance of mentors and relationships for youth 
participants (Herr-Stephenson et al, 2011). As the authors note, “In every example of 
afterschool programs using digital media and technology, human relationships prove more 
fundamental to the organization than the technological tools, whether mentoring relationships 
between adult sta members and youth or as peer relationships between participants” (ibid, p. 
24). The social capital, resources and relationships connected through these out of school 
cultural institutions parallels the concerted cultivation that occurs in middle and upper class 
families where parents act as “learning brokers” (Barron 2006:219) by providing economic, 
social, knowledge and emotional support (Lareau 2003, Seiter 2008).   
 
As part of our work in conveening educators from across the city, CLX creates conditions 
for educators to promote the programs their organizations are hosting. This kind of cross 
promotion increases CLX members’ ability to e ectively broker learning opportunities for the 
young people they serve. Increasing educator knowledge of learning experiences across the city 
increases their ability to raise the awareness of their young people and e ectively broker. This 
type of interconnectedness should lead to what Calvert, Emery and Kinsey (2013) describe as 
“an upward spiral of social capital across the community.” As they explain:  
 
Trust and productive relationships between youth and adults lead to expanded opportunities 
for youth development while building overall community capacity for civic engagement and 
community betterment….youth programs can intentionally develop social capital for youth as 
they tap into interpersonal and organizational networks, and youth programs can also be a 
location for the strengthening of social capital for an entire community (p3).  
 
When coupled with Ching et al’s (2015) strong calls for increased capacity for informal (and 
formal) educators to broker new learning experiences for young people, we are provided with a 
compelling argument for connecting educators and giving them platforms to share their 
expertise with peers from around the community. Organizations like CLX, who expend energy 
creating spaces for educators to form communities of practice and social relationships can drive 
the development of productive social capital across the city as a whole in ways that directly 
benefit youth.  
 

Opportunity Gap  
Grounded in the work of Ito et al, 2013, we define the opportunity gap as the space between the 
learning experiences young people participate in and the set of circumstances necessary to 
translate that learning into tangible academic advancement, economic mobility, or civic 
engagement. Research indicates that many learning experiences - both in and out of school - do 

 
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not help learners understand how the skills they developed or the interests they deepened could 
connect to their future goals or change their career trajectories (Arum, Larson, & Meyers, 
forthcoming; Ito et al, 2013). Further, youth often have di culties translating the skills they 
learn into language that is relevant and meaningful in adult-facing contexts, such as in resumes 
and job interviews. CLX is dedicated to supporting educators and youth-development 
practitioners as they cultivate conscious practices that enable young people to draw these types 
of deep and meaningful connections, and we support technologies like digital badges that 
enable youth skills to be recognized and unlock access to the next opportunity.  
 

Learning Equity Gaps Overview  


Gaps   Definition  Barriers  

Awareness  ❖ Do youth know about the  ❖ Parental social capital 


  learning experiences being  ❖ Quality of school  
o ered in their city?  ❖ Relationship with Teachers/Counselors  
 

Access  ❖ Can youth a ord the costs  ❖ No access to transportation  


  associated with the learning  Public transportation is seen as unsafe 
experience? Do they have the  or too expensive 
ability to reach the location?   No adult, sibling, or friend who can take 
  them 
  Not in walking distance 
❖ Parents won’t allow them to attend 
❖ Location is compromised by safety 
concerns (e.g. gang borders)  

Attendance  ❖ If they have access, do youth  ❖ Feel like they don’t belong in the space 
  show up for programming?  the learning experience is being o ered 
❖ Don’t feel welcome at the institution 
where the learning experience takes place 
❖ Concerned about looking uncool 
❖ No friends who want to go with them 
❖ Don’t see how the learning experience 
will benefit them 
❖ Conflicting responsibilities (work or 
school work)  
❖ Would rather spend downtime hanging 
out with friends 

Engagement  ❖ If they show up, do they join in  ❖ Material isn’t engaging 
  and actively engage in the  ❖ Feign coolness for friends who do attend 
learning experience?  ❖ Afraid to fail 
❖ Afraid to look stupid 
❖ No connection to their everyday lives  
❖ No connection to their future potential 
selves 
❖ They don’t have basic needs met, e.g. they 
are hungry or homeless 

 
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❖ Youth need more sca olding to be ready 
to engage  
❖ Adults are not welcoming esp for kids 
who are struggling with the material 

Pathways  ❖ If youth show up and engage, do  ❖ Adults at the learning experience don’t 
  they discover new places to  know about other experiences  
deepen their learning or new  ❖ Adults don’t cultivate a conscious 
interests to pursue at di erent  practice to connect young people to other 
organizations?  experiences 
  ❖ Peers don’t know about other experiences 

Opportunity  ❖ If they show up and engage, can  ❖ Adults don’t cultivate a conscious 
youth translate their learning  practice for translating the skills young 
experiences into academic,  people learn at their program to language 
career, or civic opportunities?  that has meaning in the adult-facing 
  world  
❖ Adults don’t actively support young 
people in connecting their experiences to 
potential career or civic opportunities 

 
 
CLX, by supporting and connecting in- and out-of-school educators across Chicago, is well 
positioned to help close these learning equity gaps. At the core of CLX is the belief that 
educators are experts that hold a unique knowledge of their content areas, their youth, and the 
communities they serve. We believe in creating spaces for educators to explore, tinker, and 
practice; giving them room to fail as they work to incorporate innovative ways of educating 
young people into their practices. Our goal is to leverage the existing strengths of educators 
while providing them with meaningful support as they continue to deepen their professional 
skills.   
  

Connected Learning  
 
Building  a  society where all children grow up to reach their full potential, regardless of 
which  side  of  the  economic  divide  they  were  born...means  integrating  afterschool 
providers’  lens  of  youth  development  with  educators’  knowledge  of  learning  theory 
with  families’  deep  understanding  of  the  unique  needs  and  circumstances  of  their 
children.  By  drawing  from  the  knowledge,  approaches,  and  experience  of  many 
di erent  adults  from  many  di erent  settings,  we  can  give  the  next  generation  of 
young  people  the  opportunities  they  need  to  meet  their  full  potential  (Nagaoka  et  al, 
2015, p6). 
 
CLX is committed to supporting educators as they work to create learning experiences that are 
designed to fully support young people and address many of the learning equity gaps identified 
earlier. To this end, CLX grounds its work in connected learning, a research-based description of 
experiences that lead to deeper engagement. Connected learning stresses the importance of 
meeting youth where they are, connecting them to opportunity, and recognizes the importance 

 
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of equity. Connected learning emerged as a result of the MacArthur Foundation’s funding in the 
digital learning arena. Grounded in sociocultural learning theory and first articulated by Ito et 
al. (2013) it is closely aligned with earlier progressive pedagogical approaches to education, 
which stress that learning was most e ective when it had real-world applicability and was 
connected to issues facing the broader community. It is heavily influenced by research on 
learning in informal spaces, such as after-school programs, online communities, and libraries, 
which have highlighted the importance of learning that happens through everyday experiences 
(Ito et al. 2010; Sefton-Green 2004). 
 
Connected learning happens when interests, relationships, and real world opportunities 
(particularly, academic, career, and civic opportunities) come together. Under these conditions, 
young people report robust and meaningful learning experiences (Ito et al. 2013). In a 
connected learning environment, youth are motivated by their interests and able to pursue 
those interests through individualized, relationship-supported learning pathways. Peers and 
caring adults support learning through opportunities to provide feedback, support, and 
collaboration. These experiences, Ito et al (2013) argue, are richest when there are clear 
pathways to opportunity and when students perceive activities as relevant to academic subjects, 
career possibilities, and civic engagement.  
 
Connected learning environments are typically grounded in production, providing learners 
opportunities to create, distribute, curate, and critique products. Research suggests that these 
environments work best when filled with peers and mentors who share interests and can work 
collaboratively on shared projects or with common goals in mind. Learners should have access 
to the resources, tools, and materials they need to pursue their interests. Ideally, learning 
experiences should be designed as part of networks—including schools, homes, and informal 
interest communities—that help to make pathways for increased participation and deeper 
learning transparent and accessible (Ito et al. 2013). 
 
Connected learning does not require technology, but digital technologies are often useful in 
facilitating these practices. Digital technologies make individualized and engaging learning 
experiences more accessible. With the rapid growth of online educational content, social media, 
and specialized online communities, young people with internet access can tap into 
interest-based informational and social supports, as well as opportunities to share their work 
and expertise with a wide variety of people, including other teens, parents, teachers, and 
potential employers (Ito et al. 2010). However, while technology has the potential to make 
learning opportunities more accessible, Ito et al. (2010) note that most youth do not take full 
advantage of these a ordances to “geek out” or deepen their learning in ways that are formally 
recognized by adults (Ito et al. 2010).  
 
At the heart of connected learning (Ito et al. 2013), is an emphasis on the benefits of 
interest-driven learning. This perspective echoes the concerns of progressive educators who, 
drawing upon the work of John Dewey (2001 [1915]), have long advocated that the role of 
schools should be to facilitate youth cultivating their own interests and developing skill sets 
that may be used to pursue particular occupations later in life. Barron (2006) argued that 
positive interest-driven learning experiences in semi-structured or informal learning spaces 
could motivate youth to be more active in other education spaces, including schools. 
 
Indeed, grounded in half a decade of fieldwork documenting educational activities grounded in 
connected learning, Arum, Larson, and Meyers (in press) created the connected learning index, 

 
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a measure comprised of five separate sub-indices, each of which roughly aligns with the 
principles of connected learning outlined in Ito et al. (2013). They found that, after controlling 
for demographic characteristics such as gender, race, age or parental education, connected 
learning was a pronounced factor associated with positive changes in student educational 
attitudes and attitudes towards persistence and openness to iteration. Positive student 
performance on the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA+), an assessment produced 
by the Council for Aid to Education to measure critical thinking and written communication 
skills demanded in the twenty-first century, was significantly predicted by the connected 
learning index.  
 
Similarly, after ten years of fieldwork with parents and children who lived in Baltimore public 
housing, sociologists DeLuca, Clampet-Lundquist, and Edin (2016) have called for a marked 
increase in funding for the arts, interest-driven programmatic activities, and career-focused 
learning communities, both in and out of school time. They contend that these types of 
experiences give at-risk young people the greatest chance of turn their lives around by helping 
teens discover new interests and passions. These “identity projects” have been shown to aid 
low-income and vulnerable youth in overcoming di culties in their transition from 
adolescence to adulthood (DeLuca, Clampet-Lundquist, and Edin 2016). Developing an 
“identity project”—a passion for a particular interest or dream job—when combined with 
concrete actions and supportive adults, helped keep youth on track for high school graduation 
and beyond. While not grounded in the same literature and research as connected learning, the 
upshot of these researchers’ work is the same: learning and resiliency are facilitated by lived 
experiences that occur at the intersection of interests, supportive peers, and caring adults.   
 
By the end of the study, DeLuca et al reported that 82 percent of the young adults were either 
working or in school—what they call, grounded in the language of their participants, being “on 
track.” The remaining 18 percent of the young adults were “disconnected,” meaning they had 
either dropped out of high school and not found work or they had graduated from high school 
and were neither working nor attending college or trade school. In this study, ninety-four 
percent of those who met the criteria of being on track2 after high school had an identity project. 
In contrast, just under one in fifteen (6 percent) of those who were neither working nor in 
school had embraced one. As they put it: “We find a striking connection between whether youth had 
adopted an identity project in middle or high school and the paths they took later, particularly the 
educational and vocational pathways they pursued.” 
 
They also caution that not all identity projects are created equal. Those that aren’t connected to 
supportive adults or institutions with structured programming might, as hypothesized by 
DeLuca et al, “keep you o the streets, but it could also distract you from studying or making 
college plans.” This is where programs steeped in connected learning can make a marked 
di erence in the life of a young person. By helping a teen connect their identity project to real 
world opportunities, nontraditional careers, or academic pathways, a caring adult can support 
young people in leveraging their identity projects for long term stability.   
 
Identity projects seem critical at a particular developmental stage— adolescence. Of those with 
an identity project, nearly all (88 percent) found it before the end of high school, and the rest 
discovered it shortly thereafter, usually while still in their teens. 46 Therefore, for the large 

2
Deluca et al. (2016) define being “on track,” in the language these youth themselves used, as either working or in 
school.  
 
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majority of the youth in our study, adoption of the identity project preceded our measure of 
being on track (DeLuca, Clampet-Lundquist, & Edin, 2016). 
 
Connected learning experiences create the conditions for young people that DeLuca et al have 
found most successful in promoting educational and vocational pathways that support young 
people in “staying o the streets.” By supporting educators in designing and implementing 
programs for young people that are grounded in connected learning and by actively funding 
programs that reach under-resourced youth, CLX is in turn responsible for helping young 
people create identify projects, or to discover new interests, that bu er them from challenging 
life circumstances and sustain them as they continue to discover their place in the world.   
 

The Chicago Learning Exchange 


 
For real shifts to happen in practice, schools and out-of-school programs need to become 
learning organizations that provide opportunities for adults to learn, and policy needs to 
provide the “safe space” to do so (Nagaoka et al, 2015, p8). 
 
 
The Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) is a nonprofit organization working to close the gaps in 
equity and opportunity faced by thousands of Chicago’s youth. We acknowledge that Chicago is 
a city of abundant opportunities for learning, but they aren’t available to all of our young 
people. But we also recognize that technology, new approaches to learning, and focused 
determination can conspire to change that.  
 
That’s why our mission is to inspire and support innovation that equips digital-age learners and 
leaders to close Chicago’s opportunity gap. Our vision is that Chicago becomes a connected 
community where all learning counts – whether in school, in society, or on the job.  
 
Our programs support educators and program leaders from organizations working primarily in 
out-of-school time and who serve low-income youth ages 13-24. 
 
Our current programs include: 
❖ Grantmaking through RFPs, travel stipends, and awards to incentivize and celebrate 
collaborative innovation; 
❖ A peer professional learning community for innovation and equity in education; 
❖ Learning pathways and digital badging to recognize the skills and knowledge that young 
people acquire beyond the classroom; and 
❖ Remake Learning Days, a four-day festival for youth, families, and educators to explore 
and showcase learning opportunities that prepare youth for the 21st Century 
 
CLX was formed in 2018 uniting two complementary but separate initiatives—the Hive Chicago 
Learning Network at the Mozilla Foundation and Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at 
The Chicago Community Trust. Over the past eight years, the Network and Fund impacted more 
than 20,000 youth, 500 educators and 200 organizations, and granted more than $7 million to 
help ensure that youth who are most in need have access to engaging opportunities that utilize 
technology as a tool for learning.  

 
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CLX provides educators tangible support in the form of trainings and tools that are grounded in 
connected learning, which has been demonstrated to increase young people’s engagement in 
varied learning environments (Ito et al 2015) and positively impact their academic success 
(Arum, Larson, and Meyers, forthcoming). By connecting, educators are better positioned to 
broker learning experiences for the young people they serve and to be exposed to innovative 
programmatic practices (Ching et al, 2015). In that vein, CLX also cultivates a safe space for 
educators to experiment with new practices and cross-organizational collaborations by 
awarding targeted funding for educational innovation. By advocating for and funding 
youth-centered learning practices, CLX assists educators in connecting, collaborating, and 
creating meaningful programming for youth. We have a NICE framework to describe our 
approach:  
 

Network educators, technologists, and researchers within a peer 


professional learning community. 
 

Ignite innovation and professional growth through funding to organizations 


and educators. 
 

Champion practices, systems, and policies that remake learning and 


promote educational equity. 
 

Equip educators, youth, and families with skills and knowledge of connected 
learning, pathways, and digital badges. 
 
 

While the “opportunity gap,” as defined by Putnam (2015), has been said to transcend race, we 
would be remiss to not highlight the intersectionality of race and access to economic capital 
(Chetty et al, 2018). A recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research identifies a 
persistent and growing black-white income gap that is not dependant parental marital status, 
education, or wealth. As Chetty et al put it, “Black Americans have substantially lower rates of 
upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than whites, leading to large income 
disparities that persist across generations” (p1). CLX and its partners recognize the ways in 
which race and economic equality intersect. 
 
 
Because we know learning experiences aren’t equitably distributed across society, the 
work CLX is doing to connect all young people, especially those who are economically 
challenged, is vital. Creating conditions for all young people to find their passions, connect with 
supportive peers and adults, and see clear trajectories for real world opportunities is 
fundamental to helping all young people succeed (Arum et al, in press; DeLuca et al, 2015; 
Nagaoka, 2015; Scales, Benson, and Roehlkepartain, 2011). By supporting in and out of school 
educators, CLX is positioned to support the creation of OST learning experiences that are 
accessible to low-income youth and to encourage classroom teachers to develop curricula that 
give youth space to discover and incorporate their own interests.   

 
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