One reader says that schools and teachers can lift children out of poverty. He says it is happening.

This reader dissents.

To be clear, and I think the writer of this post would agree, teachers and schools save children’s lives every day. Poor kids can succeed. Poor kids can make it into Harvard, thanks to their grit and the support of family and teachers.

But that is not the norm, and it never will be. Teachers alone, no matter how great they are, can’t overcome poverty. Thinking that it is so doesn’t make it so.  Saying that it is so doesn’t make it so. As this reader says, tests always produce results correlated with income.

The irony of reform today is that it relies on the one measure guaranteed to reflect family income: standardized tests.

No it’s not “happening”, Shaun. I have millions of data points from every administration of NAEP, PISA, TIMSS, ACT, and SAT for many years in history. Kids in poverty ALWAYS score lower on average.

Poverty dictates student achievement more than any factor, and schools and teachers cannot overcome its effects. Nor should we have to.

Politicians and economists MUST fix poverty. But they are too busy ruining the teaching profession to care.

And more now than ever, from study after study, financial mobility is becoming more and more difficult for the poor and even the middle class.

So, just where is this “happening”, and please no miracles allowed? If you want to rely on miracles, for every one miracle student or school (that didn’t cheat) you want to show me, I can show you exponentially more that never make the miraculous feat.