Readers of this blog know that I believe strongly in meritocracy, but all ideologies have weaknesses.
The weakness of meritocracy is that a significant percentage of people lose in a meritocracy, largely due to factors beyond their control: their genes, which parents and what community they were born into, etc.
I believe that citizens, the government, and nonprofits have a moral obligation to attempt to mitigate some of that random unfairness.
The controversy comes in how much to distribute from those with the greatest potential to contribute to society to those with the least.
Controversy also comes from the dishonest Leftists who play the race, class, and gender cards to arm-twist for support for social programs. Nearly all those programs have shown little benefit, even the vaunted Head Start, and certainly not enough benefit to justify taking tax dollars from the ever-more strapped middle and working class to pay for them.
As someone with a social science Ph.D. from Berkeley, specializing in the evaluation of such programs, I am convinced that almost no education or other such programs yet exist that yield sufficient benefit to force taxpayers to pay for it. One possible exception would be top-quality, one-on-one mentoring/tutoring programs.
What I would fund are bold research initiatives aimed at finding truly new and more promising sorts of interventions.