Boston Schools Make Strides | City of Ideas

Posted 02/03/2017 by James Burnett

Among the highlights of this year's report card, accessible here, high school graduation, college enrollment, and college completion rates have continued to rise in Boston.

Further, the six-year college completion rate increased to 51.3 percent for 2009 graduates of Boston Public Schools, an uptick from 50 percent for BPS graduates who completed high school in 2006.

And that sort of progress is encouraging!

But on the other end of the education spectrum, young children are not entering kindergarten as well prepared as they should be.

The report card shows that in the 2015-2016 school year, 61 percent of incoming kindergarten students were determined to have the necessary early learning skills to succeed and progress, a decrease of three percentage points from the prior academic year. In addition, third-grade reading proficiency levels remained steady at 33 percent per the PARCC assessment, while Boston Catholic schools and Boston Charter public schools saw dips from 79 percent to 74 percent and 61 percent to 55 percent, respectively.

“Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has called for free quality universal pre-Kindergarten. We believe the lack of growth in school readiness among our youngest students and in third-grade reading is further evidence to support the Mayor’s universal pre-K push,” said Kristin McSwain, Executive Director of the Boston Opportunity Agenda. “In this city where public education was literally invented, it is imperative that all of our children have access to a world-class education and graduate from high school and college career ready and well positioned to contribute to our highly competitive economy and way of life.”

There's more great data in the report card. And please follow the link above to read it - including more 10th-graders being prepared to graduate high school than in years past, and high school dropout rates remaining essentially stagnant.

But if there's one area to keep your eye on its the early childhood arena. It should be common sense, but it bears repeating. Children's academic paths are carved early. And if we want them to successfully travel those paths, we have to make sure their preparedness levels are consistently high before they even get to kindergarten, thus the importance of accessible pre-K for all.

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