“worried that a more rigorous curriculum could hurt high school graduation rates”

James Vaznis:

Boston high school graduates who completed the state college-preparation curriculum, called MassCore, had far better odds of earning a post-secondary degree than those who did not, according to the report by the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a partnership between local schools and nonprofits.

Specifically, 66 percent of those who completed MassCore earned post-secondary degrees in six years. If they also took at least one Advanced Placement course, college completion rates rose to 79 percent.

“From a data perspective, it’s clear that MassCore is a strong avenue of opportunity for success in college, and it doesn’t seem wise to deprive kids of that,” said Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education who coauthored the report with Vaughan Byrnes.

Yet less than a third of Boston high school graduates complete MassCore. By contrast, 100 percent of graduates at many other high schools statewide complete the course of study.

Interim Superintendent Laura Perille, calling the findings “incredibly useful,” said she plans to announce on Friday some formal steps to overhaul high schools that could lead to the first changes to the system’s graduation requirements in more than a decade. The announcement will be made at School Department headquarters in Roxbury where the report will be officially unveiled.

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”