Manpower: Can better training/education for the poor fill the need?
Funding education with property taxes means that poor communities often cannot afford good schools due to declining property values.
If schools were upgraded to meet the need, would the poor be better served? Would outcomes be improved?
That experiment was done full scale in New Jersey where the state Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that the state is required to underwrite local education under the state constitution which required the state to provide a “thorough and efficient” education. The schools that received this special support are known as the Abbott Schools.
It took a while to put the details together. Especially replacing old schools with modern, well designed buildings. The results are reported in a Wikipedia article.
“The achievement gap in math test scores for fourth graders narrowed from 31 points in 1999 to 19 points in 2007, and on reading tests from 22 points in 2001 to 15 points in 2007. The gap in eighth grade math narrowed less, from 30 points in 2000 to 26 points in 2008, and did not change in reading. The gap did not narrow in high school. In addition, a 2012 study by the New Jersey Department of Education determined that score gains in the Abbotts were no higher than score gains in high-poverty districts that did not participate in the Abbott lawsuit and therefore received much less state money.”
Looks like better schools can be part of the answer, but not the magic solution to poverty.