Can Schools Cure Poverty?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jennifer Berkshire posted this interview with economist Harvey Kantor in response to a column in the New York Times by David Leonhardt suggesting that schools were the best way to address poverty.

Leonhardt wrote that education “is the most powerful force for accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and lifting middle-class living standards.” He then goes on to argue that vouchers don’t work, but charters do. This runs contrary to Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie’s study of charters in Texas, where they found that attendance in charter schools had no effect on future earnings.

What Kantor has to say is crucial in this discussion.

Kantor says what I have come to believe is bedrock truth. Poverty should be addressed by reducing poverty. No matter how high the standards, no matter how many tests, no matter how swell the curriculum is, those are not cures for homelessness, joblessness, and lack of access…

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