Mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh rolled out an initiative Monday aimed at bolstering large district high schools in Boston, making clear that he is not ceding the issue of education to his opponent, John R. Connolly, who has made revamping the school system the cornerstone of his campaign.
Walsh’s proposal focuses on ways to prevent students from falling through the cracks at 10 of the city’s roughly three dozen high schools, many of which are beset by low graduation rates or lackluster standardized test scores.
At those large schools, he would establish ninth and 10th grade “academies,” which would split grades into smaller groups. He would also continue Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s effort to improve the quality of programs and instruction at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, where an overhaul got off to a rocky start last school year.
In a press conference outside the long-troubled English High School in Jamaica Plain, Walsh emphasized that education reform would be a top issue if he is elected mayor.
“We can’t wait to address one of the most difficult challenges facing the Boston public schools, which is reforming the largest district high schools in the city of Boston,” said Walsh, a longtime state representative, surrounded by about 20 supporters.
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