mPremium content.
registered users Learn more

Our Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change

We all want to improve outcomes for children and youth and help all young people be ready for college, work and life.

Right now, too few are ready. And changing those outcomes at any scale takes a long time.

Only 4 out of 10 are ready for college, work and life.

2 in 10 are deeply underprepared or off track.*

Right now, families, communities and schools are not providing all the supports that they should. Only two out of five youth are getting the supports that they need.

Right now, leaders are not as effective as they want to be. They aim to do well, but their efforts don’t always add up.

Ready by 21 uses interconnected gears to illustrate its theory of change for improving youth outcomes at a large scale.

To change the odds for children and youth, we must help our communities improve the quality and quantity of the supports available for young people from their families, schools and communities.

To change the landscape of communities and the supports they provide, we must first change the way we, as leaders, do business.  

To help us be more successful as leaders, we must build broader partnerships, set bigger goals, use better data and decision-making, and take bolder actions.

That’s the theory of change: Moving the small gear – focusing on leaders – makes a big difference.

That’s what Ready by 21 is all about – helping state and community leaders improve the family, school and community supports available to young people, in order to help all children and youth get fully ready for college, work and life.

*Finding Out What Matters for Youth - study by Youth Development Strategies and Institute for Research and Reform in Education, 2002.