By David Driscoll and Gary Kaplan
We often pride ourselves on the fact that our public schools lead the country in student achievement. We point to ever-increasing MCAS scores, favorable international performance, and historic high school graduation rates. Those achievements are laudable and a tribute to the efforts of many — primarily teachers, principals and the students themselves.
But the banner headlines overshadow a troubling subhead, one that state and federal education leaders all have underscored. Each year, according to state Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland, 11,000 Massachusetts high school graduates cannot pass the entrance exams to community colleges and end up in noncredit remedial courses. Worse yet, 90 percent of those young people drop out without a degree, often after using up their financial aid and even taking out loans.