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Are You a Social Capital Smart Parent?

Part 1.

Help me finish this sentence: it’s not only what you know; It’s. . .

If you believe even a part of this to be true, are you equally concerned about WHO your children know as WHAT they know?

Let’s be honest, schools and the policymakers who guide them have developed ways to measure WHAT our children know (Race to the Top, Leave No Child Behind, etc.), but at no time in U.S. history has measuring WHO students know mattered. We are changing that. 

The facts are clear, and the evidence is deafening. Who children know is more important to their economic mobility than the quality of their schooling or household income. 

So what are you doing as a parent to ensure that your child has the industry connections to blaze a path towards economic opportunity and financial freedom?

Your connections are your child’s connections. Network science proves it. But there is a major problem. Most parents don’t understand the power of networks and the social capital within them. 

That’s why we are urging parents to become social capital smart and to support their children in becoming the same. For too long, social capital has been the parachute that protects the affluent when they fall.  It has been  the harness that keeps rich children up when they stumble. If we are going to have a chance at closing the opportunity gap (it’s really a chasm) facing historically underrepresented communities, those underrepresented must become the bridge that connects their children to opportunities that both didn’t know exist. 

So today, let’s check if you are a “Social Capital Smart Parent.”


Take a sheet of paper ( or download the Social Captial Smart Parent Assessment #1 (SCSP1)  on our website). 1. Make four columns. In column one,  list six of your closest gainfully employed, high-earning friends. In column 2, list their occupations and where they work. In column 3, without showing the form to your child, tell them the name of the individual and give yourself one point if your child knows that person, another point if they are able to tell you that person’s occupation, and another point if they can tell you the name of the company where that person works.  In column four, using a scale of 1 to 6, with one being low and six being high, rate the effort you have placed in helping your child speak to this person about career opportunities and industry insights within the past twelve months. In column 5, jot down ideas on how you can better connect your child to that individual within the next 30 days and discuss these ideas with your child. 

Now do the math. Add up the points.

Okay what did your score teach you? 

Let’s look at how you scored. 

45 to 54: Social Capital Smart Parent.

Congratulations for being in the top 1% of families who Ensure that their children know who they know.

36 to 44: Emerging Social Capital Builders

Clearly helping your students build strong connections within your network is taking place. To what extent is it happening consciously or unconsciously only you can determine.

Below 35: Beginner Social Capital Builders

Hey we’re including some points in there for reading this article.

Processing Questions:

What did you earn from this activity?

What can you do to help your child build connections with those who you know?

How could these connections benefit your child?

We would appreciate your feedback on this activity by completing this impact survey here. Let us know how it goes and keep us updated on your progress.

Social capital is the value of a person’s connections with individuals, institutions and organizations. Unlike networking, social capital is about consistently building, measuring, and maintaining quality professional relationships with a specific number of industry ties and supportive career adults with the goal of mutual economic and social benefit.

Get the training that will help you improve your and your child’s economic mobility. Sign up for our Social Capital Smart Parent (SCSP) Bulletin and discover the success strategies that they don’t teach in schools.