It is all the rage among the pseudo-reformers to dismiss the importance of poverty. Although most of the pseudo-reformers grew up in affluence, attended elite private school, and send their own children to equally splendid private schools, they feel certain in their hearts that poverty is a state of mind that can be easily overcome. All it takes is one great teacher. Or three effective teachers in a row. Or lots of grit. Or a no-excuses school where children dress for success, follow rules without questioning, and act like little test-taking machines. One by one, the pseudo-reformers insist, they will end poverty.

No one needs a higher minimum wage. No one needs a change in the tax structure. Nothing need be done except fire teachers who can’t raise test scores and hire lots of TFA, whose enthusiasm is sure to overcome their lack of training and experience.

The fact that social scientists have demonstrated the significance of poverty on one’s life chances never penetrates the discussion. In one State of the Union Address, the President lauded a peculiar study which claimed that the influence of a third or fourth grade teacher affected one’s lifetime earnings, even prevented pregnancies years later. Enough such teachers, one surmises, and poverty will be vanquished. The Secretary of Education used to point to schools where 100% of the students, impoverished as could be, went to college, until the news media realized that such schools usually had a trick, like high attrition rates.

The fact is that poverty does matter. No matter what standardized test you look at, the results portray the influence of socioeconomic status on test scores . Despite outliers, the kids with the most advantages are at the top, the kids with the fewest advantages are at the bottom. This is true of international tests, state tests, federal tests, the ACT, the SAT.

Standardized tests are the means by which privilege is distributed. The outcomes are predictable.

Here is yet another demonstration that poverty matters. So does advantage. But no matter what research or evidence shows, the charade goes on.