"Citizen Schools is a fresh and personal look at education and the increasingly unequal access to opportunity in America. The book gets beyond the tired debate about charter schools and unions and tests to look at what is really driving the growing opportunity gap - what Schwarz calls a chasm - between upper and lower income children. Schwarz charts the supports and experiences that marked his own childhood and that of his children and shares the story of Citizen Schools, the organization he built, and the thousands of children it serves who were born with little money and few connections but by virtue of repeated positive experiences with professionally successful adults are now catapulting their way into good colleges and good careers. While differences in school and teacher quality contribute to growing opportunity and achievement gaps, Schwarz shares stories and convincing data that demonstrate most of the gap comes from extra learning opportunities offered outside of school. Schwarz shares heartwarming as well as tragic stories and cutting edge research, describing a world in which the real driver of achievement gaps has little to do with tests or schools or even teachers, but instead has everything to do with social networks and chances to "experience success with successful people." "-- The imperative of equal opportunity and the importance of Citizen Schools -- The opportunity equation -- Section One: Building blocks. Maureen -- "It's my turn" -- Turning point -- Organization man -- The Eddy is ready -- Scale, spread, and the pursuit of systemic change. Section Two: How citizen power and an expanded learning day can narrow achievement gaps, broaden opportunity, and strengthen America. Voices from Citizen Schools: Joyce King Thomas, volunteer -- Citizen power and the importance of mentory -- It's about time -- From a nation of consumers to a nation of makers: inspiring creativity and innovative thinking in our schools -- Social networks and social skills -- Supporting teachers, and parents too -- Lindy Smalt, AmeriCops teaching fellow. Section Three: Next steps for American and for you. A civic Marshal Plan for equal opportunity -- Agostinha DePina, student -- Expanded learning time schedule with Citizen Schools.