U.S. News & World Report released their 2019 Best High Schools ranking on Wednesday, raising questions over what factors contribute to the success of schools and students.

Joining Boston Public Radio to give his take on the rankings was Paul Reville, former state secretary of education and a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he also runs the Education Redesign Lab.

Reville commented on the trend of high schools located in wealthier areas of Massachusetts tending to place higher in the rankings.

“There’s a straight line correlation between socioeconomic status and educational achievement and attainment," he said. "One has to ask the question, 'Is it that the schools are actually better, or is it the kinds of resources outside of school that children have coming into school that makes the task of educators in those a very different task than the task of educators in the intercity?"

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The higher amount of wealth a school district has doesn't necessarily predict loftier rankings. Reville emphasized that the amount of money spent in education doesn't signify better results. Rather, it's how the money is spent.

"For example, in Cambridge we spend close to the highest per pupil expenditure of any place in the state, if not the highest, and the results are nowhere near the highest in the state. Conversely, we have some communities in which they have relatively modest resources, but they do pretty well with those resources. So it’s really about how you use the resources and then it’s about whether schooling by itself is a strong enough intervention to overcome the disadvantage of poverty," he said.

Reville explained that even if we get schooling right, it will only work for a certain number of children.

"The odds are something that we don’t like to look at, that where you’re born has more to do with how far you get in the education system than anything else, including schooling. And that’s unsettling because we think about ourselves as a equal opportunity society and we’re not actually," he said.

Schools by themselves can't change this inequality, Reville added.

"It’s going to take a much more complex system of support and opportunity outside of school to make it possible for each and every child to go to school each and every day ready to learn,” he said.

Reville’s latest book is Broader, Bolder, Better: How Schools and Communities Help Students Overcome the Disadvantages of Poverty co-authored with Elaine Weiss.