I googled "education" and "getting out of poverty." Over 1 million hits.
I googled "education" and "ending poverty." About 160K hits.
Many reformsters, from Arne Duncan to She Who Will Not Be Named, have tried to tout education as a way to end poverty, or even THE way to end poverty. I remain unconvinced. The end of poverty requires one of two things to happen:
1) All jobs will pay above-poverty-line wages. That means either an official or effective raising of the minimum wage.
2) All poverty-level jobs will disappear, to be replaced with enough high-paying jobs to keep all the displaced burger flippers and retail checkers employed.
Okay, actually there could be a 3)-- the government gives every poor person enough money to not be poor.
I am not an economist (although there are a lot of economists playing education expert, so I'm comfortable turning that table), but I am pretty sure both 1 and 2 are impossible (and 3 is harder than that). I see no reason to believe that having all students graduate from high school meeting the government's standard of College and Career Ready (aka got good scores on some standardized tests) will make the impossible more possible.
But mostly we're really talking about getting out of poverty, which is way different from ending it.
Imagine two buildings are on fire, dozens of people trapped inside. The fire company that shows up at one building says, "We have got to put out that fire." The other fire company says, "Let's try to save a couple of those people." That's the difference between "end poverty" and "get out of poverty."
When we say our goal is getting people out of poverty, we are committing ourselves to letting the building burn. And since poverty is grounded in jobs that need to be done and the people who have to take them, we are deciding to consign more victims to poverty. It's saying, "I don't care what happens to the ship or the people still trapped on it-- I've got my lifeboat seat." Or more concisely, "I've got mine, Jack."
Some folks try to soothe the harshness of this attitude (particularly followers of that Jesus fella, who had some things to say about people in poverty, and none of them were "I've got mine, Jack") by maintaining that the people who suffer from poverty deserve it. They're slackers, or miscreants, or just bad people. It's okay if poverty happens, as long as it happens to the right people.
Poverty must continue. People must suffer for their failings by being trapped in poverty. All we need do is provide an avenue for the deserving few to escape (or at least something we can claim is an avenue of escape). Once we've done that, we've done all we need do. If the educational path is there, anyone trapped in poverty has only himself to blame.
That's the system of belief that seems to drive some reformster thought. It's a system of thought that isn't merely divorced from reality, but is divorced from morality as well.
For two excellent reads on the subject:
Daniel S. Katz "The Moral Perversity of Today's Education Reform"
Jersey Jazzman "The Fundamental Flaw in the Reformy Argument"