The education pathway starts at birth and has four phases: Early Childhood (prenatal to 3rd grade), Primary (K to 8th grade), Middle/Secondary (6th to 12th grade), and Secondary/Postsecondary (ages 16 to 24, or roughly 10th grade through college). Differing family circumstances mean that even at birth, kids do not start at the same place. Children born to low income families start life at a disadvantage that too often persists throughout their education pathway.

In fact, socio-economic status and the segregation that comes from it are the most important factors related to education outcomes. Different policies and programs, however, can help switch students onto better trajectories. Donors can help by investing in efforts that have impact, ensuring that kids get on—and stay on—a path to success. In this section we give a brief description of each phase of the education pathway and an example of nonprofits making an impact in each stage.

In our 2018 High Impact Giving Guide, we profile six high impact nonprofits that are making an impact at various stages along the education pathway.

Learn more about pathways to student success at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy.