A stunning new report by The Boston Globe that follows the lives of 93 recent Boston Public Schools valedictorians shows that there were more graduates who became homeless than those who finished medical school.
Paul Reville, former State secretary of education and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said that the Globe's study demonstrates the impact that inequality has on education.
"It's richly apparent, if you look at the stories of these individuals, that the circumstances of their lives [and] the difficulties associated with poverty, so many conditions that happen in their lives outside of school contribute to that difficulty that makes it impossible for them to succeed," he said.
Reville pointed to the need for programs that help level the playing field for low-income students, like free early childhood education.
"We have to say, as a community: 'What are the conditions children need in terms of support and opportunity to come to school ready to learn? Secondly, what do we need to do to improve the quality of schools to educate everyone to a high level?'" Reville said.
"I think it's important to think about success as we do in our own families as a cradle to career pipeline. It starts early," he continued.
That kind of support could continue later in a student's life, to ease the transition between high school to college.
"Lots of colleges have been trying to do programs before students arrive and high schools have been trying to do college assimilation programs ... that help with these college adjustment problems," Reville explained.
"Can they do more? Obviously more needs to be done," he said.