Excellence and Equity for All: Unlocking Opportunities for Off-Track Youth in Boston Public Schools

Excellence and Equity for All: Unlocking Opportunities for Off-Track Youth in Boston Public Schools

Although Boston Public Schools saw its four-year graduation rate jump from 57.9 percent in 2007 to 72.7 percent in 2017, and its annual dropout rate fall from 7.9 percent to 3.6 percent, many students still are not on track to graduate, a report by  finds. Commissioned by the , the report, (40 pages, PDF), found that only 25 percent of "off-track" students — those who are at least two years behind the typical credit accumulation patterns of previous BPS graduates — graduate in four years, compared with 84 percent of "on-track" students. The study also found that 11 percent of the Class of 2017 citywide fell off-track, including 37 percent of those at open-enrollment schools and 48 percent of those who were both special education and English language learners. Even as demand for open-enrollment schools has fallen, the concentration of students with complex needs in those schools has exacerbated the challenge of helping students succeed, the report notes, while funding policies do not fully address the diversity and intensity of their needs. Recommendations for the district include implementing a systemic and coordinated plan to transform open enrollment and selective schools; overhauling alternative education so that schools serve specific student segments better; enabling schools and families to use data to detect and address early-warning signs; reviewing policies related to admissions, funding, and student mobility; and taking a data-driven, active management approach to high schools.