Chasing the Dream: Your American Dream Score

WNET Offers New Online Platform to Help Users Discover Their Chances of Success with the  “Your American Dream Score” Quiz

NEW YORK, NY, May 16, 2017 – What does it take for someone to succeed in America? Is it hard work, supportive family and friends, a good education? To find out, WNET is launching Your American Dream Score, an initiative of Moving Up. The online tool has been designed to create a new conversation about what it takes to get ahead in America.

Beginning today, May 16, one can visit WNET’s Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America website and click on Your American Dream Score to learn what factors were working for and against your efforts to achieve the American Dream.

Chasing the Dream is WNET’s multi-platform public media initiative providing programming on poverty, income equality, and opportunity. Since 2015, the initiative has produced 154 reports, including news segments, documentaries, and radio and digital stories. The stories have been seen by a cumulative 14.7 million viewers on television alone and the Facebook postings have had 3.5 million total impressions.

Your American Dream Score and Moving Up were created by Bob McKinnon, author and founder of GALEWiLL, an organization that designs social change programs. Digital design for the tool was created by Sol Design.

“We’re delighted to partner with Bob McKinnon on this initiative, says Neal Shapiro, President and CEO, WNET.  “Your American Dream Score is a great addition to the Chasing the Dream website and provides an opportunity for our audience to learn in a very personal way about the many factors that may have influenced their path to fulfilling the American Dream.”

“Our hope is that people from different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs, will find their score and share it with others to start more constructive conversations about how we come to be where we are in life,” says McKinnon. “We’re so excited that organizations like WNET, Ford Foundation and Facebook are providing the platform for those conversations to happen both online, in the community, and eventually in the classroom.”

It only takes a few minutes to discover what factors could have contributed to or hindered your success. Your American Dream Score asks 13 questions about your life. Each question represents a factor that research shows correlates to social mobility and/or happiness in life. Similarly, all of the options within each question are based on scientific research related to mobility or positive life outcomes.  Once completed, you receive a score and a list of factors that show what you had working for and against you.  The higher your score, the more you had to overcome. The lower the scores, the more you had working in your favor.

The idea behind Your American Dream Score is to engage people on issues like poverty, inequality and opportunity, and to offer strategies and resources that can help people move up in life. By assessing your own station in life, you can gain a better understanding of those factors that impact your ability to move up or down in the world. Research suggests that this type of personal framing and reflection can lead to increased support for issues and their corresponding solutions.

Funding for Your American Dream Score was made possible by the Ford Foundation.  Individuals and organizations whose work, input and research this tool is based include: Isabel Sawhill and Richard Reeves, The Brookings Institution; Richard Kahlenberg, The Century Foundation; Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University; Robert Frank, Cornell University; James Marks, Deborah Bae, and Martha Davis, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Paul Piff, University of California Irvine; Rachel-Rise Ruttan, Northwestern University; Shai Davidai, The New School; Irwin Redlener, Children’s Health Fund; Roy Wade, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Raj Chetty and Jordan Richmond, Stanford University The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Nicholas Christakis, Yale University; Paul Tough, author; Carol Dweck, Stanford University; and Roy Baumeister, Florida State University.


WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere:

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