Dear Arne and Bill,
I really don't understand you two, the U.S. Secretary of Education and the world's second richest man and noted philanthropist. How can you possibly say that public education can be reformed without eliminating poverty?
There is, of course, plenty of room for improvement in "reforming" America's schools, from a variety of perspectives. You're just have to be realistic about how much you'll get out of it without at least reducing poverty and its direct effects.
I'd say, you could successfully reform public education -- the schools -- without actually closing the achievement gap by more than, say, a third. Since "the research" says that in-school factors account for about 1/3rd of the gap, that should be the optimistic, back of the envelope prediction.