If you think about social policy and children, you can get discouraged. There are many children who live in poverty, who lack adequate health care, and who are receiving substandard educations. So things are terrible on everything that is critical for child well-being, and it's all futile, right?
The antidote to getting discouraged is to look at historical data. When you take a view that includes even a few previous generations, things look wonderful. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a terrific dynamic statistical map that shows the historical increase in the proportion of adults who have completed a college education. My graph to the right summarizes the trend, a steady, five-fold increase over 70 years. Three generations: from the time my father was entering college to the time when my daughter is leaving it).
Of course, a degree per se means nothing, for which I cite the following authority:
Wizard of Oz: They have one thing you haven't got: a diploma. Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD.
Wizard of Oz: That's... Doctor of Thinkology.
That is, a degree is just a proxy for actual learning. Regardless, we are looking at an exceptional increase in human capabilities.
The graph at the Chronicle also shows that education is unevenly distributed across the country. New England is well-educated, the ex-Confederate states are not; Blacks who live outside the slave states are better educated than those who still live there; similarly for Hispanics living outside the Southwest; and Asians are astoundingly well-educated everywhere. So there is still much to do.
(h/t to Flowing Data.)