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Councilor wants to add an extra year to high school for kids who need some extra help to get ready for college or work

The Boston City Council yesterday agreed with a request from Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) to look at adding an optional 13th year to city high schools.

Flaherty said that while BPS has made great strides in just increasing graduation rates, many students are still finding their BPS educations have not fully prepared them for life beyond high school, and that they would benefit from an extra year of learning on everything from how to improve their SATs to picking up the skills that would help them land and keep a trade-based job.

He said he would like to look at ways to include the city's colleges - among the best in the world, of course - in providing this extra year of education, possibly as a way towards fulfilling their promises to make payments in lieu of taxes to the city.

The next step is for a hearing to be scheduled at which BPS officials and others could testify.

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Comments

More about our school system than our students.

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Can they redshirt in Sports?

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You need a waiver by the MIAA to participate in sports.

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Where this is really necessary is in the trades. Get these kids into apprenticeships.

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You might want to look up the Globe's recent piece on BPS valedictorians - so many of them had dreams of higher ed, then discovered they were completely unprepared for it. If we're going to add a year to high school, why not help those kids, too?

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Valedictorians, completely unprepared? Yikes.

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I can understand BPS failing at preparing students for college, but if that's the issue, it's unclear to me how an extra year in the same institution which failed them will fix the problem. Further, one of the key reasons why students wash out of college is being unprepared for a far less structured learning environment where grades are based on a handful of papers and/or exams. You can show up to lectures or not, you can do the reading or not, and the professor/teaching assistant isn't going to care if you're not asking for help.

Maybe some sort of partnership with Bunker Hill Community College or Roxbury Community College that would offer free or reduced tuition for students of modest means would better serve uncertain students than an extra year of high school?

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Many students still lack basic English skills that they would need to apply for jobs, make resumes, write cover letters, etc. The schools can also add some basic training (besides trades) that may help these HS students in year 5 (Excell, powerpoint, word, etc)

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Disagree. My daughters first year in college was such an eye opener. One assignment had students reviewing each others work. My daughter was one of the few in class that could spell and write an essay grammatically correct. This was college.
Many people are unprepared and are just being set up to fail. Schools that graduate kids to keep their numbers looking good are at fault and are doing these students no favors.

I really don't know why you would think this is a "trade school" issue. Unless, or course, you think kids that go into trades are the problem. There are probably plenty of trade school students that could run circles around some of these college kids. I know a few myself.

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Preface: I 100% agree this is great for those unsure about college or that know they want to go the trade route.

But also speaking from personal experience: My freshman year was a $30,000 (in 2003 money) private school wash. I’d gladly give up the 1 semester equivalent of transfer credits and 0 people I still talk to for a better way to figure it out. I’d also bet my student loan debt that I’m not alone in this.

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Great idea!! So many of our kids make it to college only to drop out after a year because they’re unprepared skills wise to handle college.

However it should never be made mandatory. I think it should be geared to those students who want to go to college but haven’t figured out what they want to do in life or how to do it yet.

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Then they become eligible voters and vote the entire council out for holding up their lives. Hilarious!

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No way to improve the existing public school experience? I don't see how another year in a failed institution is going to help anyone. Except the teacher's union.

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It would be a failed institution if all they saw through the door were rich white kids born to professional and fully English fluent parents.

You need to do your homework before joining the debate team.

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If an institution is failing to do its job, you don’t give it more time to continue failing, you find the problem and apply corrective measures. Your comment about the race and class of the current student population is baffling. 30 years ago, I attended a small parochial school in Dorchester where 98% of the students were the children of working class bilingual immigrants. The school didn’t even offer Kindergarten at the time. 96% of my classmates not only graduated from college (on-time) but also hold advanced degrees. The same can be said for students who graduated before and after my class. I do think trade school needs to be encouraged as much as college, because college isn’t for everyone. However, if BPS validictorians aren’t provided with the necessary tools to graduate from college we have a serious problem.

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Exactly. If you do something for 12 years and it doesn't work, change what you're doing. Don't just add another year of the same.

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Adding another year to a system that didn't do it's job in the first place thus necessitating an additional year? What's wrong with this picture?

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Nice idea, but how we gonna pay for it?

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BPS shrinks about 1% a year - and that's AFTER accounting for all the Pre-K seats they've been adding.

HOWEVER - we are now at almost a full class size of pre-k (I think around 3000 seats - the typicaly BPS grade is about 4000 students) - and unlike mandatory K-12 - many parents have/use other options for that age bracket.

Soooo.... to keep $$$$ flowing into BPS without raising eyebrows - you need to bump up the number of seats - and why not the kids that haven't made it through.

All else being equal - BPS drops by about 500 students a year - you could absorb probably all the demand for this over a couple of years. assuming it might apply to say 25% of students?

UPDATE-state database puts BPS student population down about 1200 students over the past year or about 2.5%.

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if you invest in people for a year and it means they get better, steadier, more successful employment for the rest of their lives, it does in fact, pay for itself.

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The only way it would pay for itself would be if either the schools were solely financed by income tax (they're not) or the students were required to pay something when they are safely established in their careers (ha, ha, ha.)

It might be a good proposal, or even good public policy, but this will not pay for itself.

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You have meaningful data to back that claim up?

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I'm not going to say I don't see the point, but it really seems like this is something that should be done while the students are in grades 9 through 12. Perhaps track students in high school, so that they are being challenged more if they show a propensity towards postsecondary education. That's been the traditional route. Conversely, why not partner with RCC or BHCC for a "soft landing" program.

The Globe article does make it out that BPS failed most of their valedictorians, but that speaks to the programs in the schools. Kids who attend exam schools will most likely do well academically beyond high school because they have been conditioned to be ready for the next step. I would almost argue for another exam school if there is more of a demand for college prep. Otherwise, the high schools should be shaken up more.

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...or could reform BPS if BPS is apparently not doing well at preparing students?

No, that would take a fight.

If the school system was already inadequate for the given student for K-12, why would 13th grade be any different?

If the City were to spend money doing anything for students in this category, I'd say spend it on tuition coupons for Kaplan.

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New At-Large Candidates to refresh Boston City Council practices please! Let multiple Terms City Council Members move on to other roles of Leadership. For example...
@TaushawnTinsley
@juliaforboston Julia Mejia
@votehalbert David Halbert
@astguillen Alejandra St. Guillen
@Ashawn4Boston Ashawn Dabney-Small

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