This is no better than saying we can’t fix schools until we “fix poverty.” Anti-poverty policy, though costly, is very effective in the U.S., and education is only one among many factors that contribute to poverty and inequality (as is partially evident in the fact that much of the rise in inequality in the U.S. has occurred among similarly-educated people). In addition, while improving public education will help millions of people, the benefits will elude everyone who is beyond school age. These people need help now, and no amount of K-12 education reform will provide it. [emphasis mine]
Mitigating poverty will improve education outcomes, and vice-versa. So let’s not allow either to be an “excuse” for failing to comprehensively address the other.