The Opportunity Myth: From Conversation to Action

On Tuesday, September 25, we released our brand new research report, The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us About How School Is Letting Them Down—and How to Fix It. Three years in the making, this in-depth study of almost 4,000 students, 5,000 assignments and 20,000 individual work samples shows what many in the field have long suspected: students just aren’t getting the access to the academic resources and high expectations they need to achieve their aspirations. 

A week into the conversation about The Opportunity Myth, more than 1,500 students, educators, and parentsalong with more than 40 prominent education leaders and organizationshave taken the first step to making sure that more students have better experiences in school.

Here’s just some of what we’ve heard about The Opportunity Myth—and how hundreds of people are translating the conversation into action.



Last Tuesday morning, more than a hundred people gathered in Washington, D.C. to watch students and educators in a candid conversation about the real public school experience in America.

Young leaders like Kimberly Pham of Opportunity Youth United spoke candidly about their school experiences…


Opportunity Youth United


Decision makers like Dr. Sonja Santelises talked about hard conversations she has led as CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools.


Chiefs for Change


…and how she embraces listening to students—and setting high expectations…


Catherine Brown, VP of Education Policy, Center for American Progress


Audience members reflected on The Opportunity Myth in light of their own memories of school…


Conor Williams of The Century Foundation


Students on the panel made it clear that they will be co-designers and leaders of their own school experiences.


Oregon Student Voice



Arne Duncan


After the event, education leaders carried the conversation forward, relating how The Opportunity Myth resonated with their own work and research—and the decisions they make in their roles.


Russlynn Ali


Desmond K. Blackburn


Michael Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institution


Andrew Stern


We’re excited to keep the conversation going—and to translate those words into action.


Dr. Jonas Chartock

Janet Murguia


What’s your commitment? Read and share The Opportunity Myth—then take the first step by requesting your own free action guide featuring tools and advice to help more students in your community have worthwhile experiences in school. 

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

Learn More About TNTP