This is not a rhetorical question.
FWIW, I think Hawaii, Vermont, and California have more or less some state funding of schools. Maybe some other states as well. But it certainly is not enough.
I remember when the cost of tuition was less than the cost of books at University of California. Before Reagan was governor.
As for the main question "Can the center hold?", i have no idea. I know there are some organizations that are trying to bridge the divide, I don't know how much success they are having.
Reminds me of the Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats:
powerful and clear, truly a clarion call to address the roots of this sad, dangerous, violent country, so mired in unjust ideas and practices. There is nothing to celebrate July 4th, in my mind. We should be mourning who we became, because we were too cowardly to address our history. I am so ashamed, so ashamed, to be privileged American in a privileged nation.
Also I would add MA has some of the highest performing students in the country, and at the same time the biggest disparity, or close to it.
I agree with the poor state of schools in Boston, in particular. I wrote about them for The Boston Globe Education Section pre-MCAS, and during that transition. (mid-1990s) I was pretty flabbergasted by what I found--another story--and one justification for MCAS was to raise the standards for everyone, as an equality issue. Some of the suburbs resisted the extra bureaucratic layer because they were doing well. But--MCAS won, and perhaps did raise the standards somewhat, in some schools. But MA still has the greatest discrepancy between higher achievement and lower. The thing is--the lower schools (and this includes tests, grades, graduation, college--a mix of criteria, as far as I know) also have the highest budgets. Boston spends more per pupil than any other system in MA, I believe, or close to it. And the students still do not have to meet the same criteria as elsewhere to graduate--fewer credits, in fewer subjects required. I don't know if they require a foreign language at all (although a lot of kids are bi-lingual!) So what's the problem? Some say the parents are not as involved--that can be for several reasons, such as their work situations, language barriers, etc. But--whatever--someone from gov should step up and fix what's wrong. Some say the reason for the higher achievement of MA students in general is the local-based funding, which also confers local control, parent involvement, etc. But--why are they letting kids "fall through the cracks?" (A phrase my kids' administrators used to use!) Endemic issues like racism, classicism, can be at play.