Browse Categories

CT’s Stubborn Achievement Gap: Comparing Gaps Over Time, Across America

We’ve taken a look at the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) (the only test of academic achievement that is administered to all states across America) over time. When you look at the map, we have used eligibility for the national school lunch program as a proxy for coming from a low-income background, and then we’ve identified gaps in 4th and 8th grade Reading and Math. Since 2003, while other states have made progress and seen change, Connecticut’s achievement gap has remained wide and intransigent–among the worst in America.

Poverty Achievement Gaps Over Time

Mathematics and Low Income

Has the Gap in 4th Grade Math Changed Over the Years?

This map displays gaps in Math performance between low-income students and their peers at the 4th grade level. (NAEP State Comparisons) You can compare these gaps across states over time. The darker the color, the larger the gap. While the size of the gap varies a little bit from year-to-year in Connecticut, the gap consistently remains one of the worst in the country.

Mathematics and Low Income

Has the Gap in 8th Grade Math Changed Over the Years

This map displays gaps in Math performance between low-income students and their peers at the 8th grade level. (NAEP State Comparisons) You can compare these gaps across states over time. The darker the color, the larger the gap. While the size of the gap varies a little bit from year-to-year in Connecticut, the gap consistently remains one of the worst in the country.

Reading and Low Income

Has the Gap in 4th Grade Reading Changed Over the Years?

This map displays gaps in Reading performance between low-income students and their peers at the 4th grade level. (NAEP State Comparisons) You can compare these gaps across states over time. The darker the color, the larger the gap. While Connecticut has made some gains in reducing the size of the gap, it remains among the worst in the country.

Reading and Low Income

Has the Gap in 8th Grade Reading Changed Over the Years?

This map displays gaps in reading performance between low-income students and their peers at the 8th grade level. (NAEP State Comparisons) You can compare these gaps across states over time. The darker the color, the larger the gap. While Connecticut has made some gains in reducing the size of the gap, it remains among the worst in the country.

CT Mirror: Does Connecticut need a think tank?

Connecticut is not bereft of policy research capacity; indeed there is a good amount of study going on here. It’s being done by:

Groups focusing on particular policy areas such as the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering,Connecticut Voices for Children, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, the Partnership for Strong Communities, the Connecticut Association for Human Services, the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, and several others.

Read the full story here.

Have You Seen the Achievement Gap Inside Your District?

Last year, when students took the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC), the statewide assessment in Connecticut, we gained a lot of interesting information about the academic achievement of Connecticut students. The results are particularly interesting when you can compare what’s happening between districts and within districts. The interactive map on our website allows you to explore some of these patterns.
Read More »

Funding Public Schools in Difficult Economic Times

Connecticut has just tackled a projected $960 million deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year. This shortfall meant cuts in every aspect of state funding, including a significant impact on the state’s education system.  The Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Grant, the state’s largest education grant, was cut $32.1 million which included a $6.8 million decrease in Alliance District funding. There were also cuts to magnet schools, the Priority School District program and the Excess Cost Grant allocation.[1] Such cuts will likely lead municipalities to provide greater contributions to funding the school district, requiring increases in local property taxes and/or a reduction in the school districts’ current levels of service.Read More »

High Expectations at New Haven’s ESUMS Magnet School

The Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS) is a public college preparatory middle and high school in the New Haven Public School District, and it is producing some impressive results with its students. When the results of the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment came in, we quickly realized that the ESUMS students had outpaced the state and district in both English and Math. 2015 SBAC Data
Read More »

CT’s Special Education Funding Dilemma

In order to alleviate some financial burden, the state of Connecticut administers an Excess Cost Grant to assist school districts with extraordinary special education costs. But he state’s Excess Cost Grant is not designed to reimburse school districts for all of their special education costs. Rather, it only covers a certain reimbursable percentage that fluctuates from year to year. Moreover, the Excess Cost Grant is usually not fully funded by the state. Thus, even with state assistance, districts are still facing the same dilemma every year: allocating funding for special education costs without knowing how much will be needed each year or what percentage will be reimbursed.

This short brief explores the impact of Excess Cost Grant shortfalls by reviewing the history behind this funding, some of the challenges it creates, and a case study of one district.

Click here to download.

The Benefits and Challenges of Student-Based Budgeting

Student-based budgeting—also called weighted student funding and fair student funding—is a method of allocating public school funds in a way that is responsive to students’ needs. Although this concept is relatively new, it has gained popularity in school districts across the country.

This short brief explores the benefits and challenges associated with student-based budgeting.

Click here to download.

Funding Public Schools in Difficult Economic Times

Connecticut has just tackled a projected $960 million deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year. This shortfall meant cuts in every aspect of state funding, including a significant impact on the state’s education system.  The Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Grant, the state’s largest education grant, was cut $32.1 million which included a $6.8 million decrease in Alliance District funding. There were also cuts to magnet schools, the Priority School District program and the Excess Cost Grant allocation. Such cuts will likely lead municipalities to provide greater contributions to funding the school district, requiring increases in local property taxes and/or a reduction in the school districts’ current levels of service.

This short brief explores options for districts when state and local budgets are tight. (It includes a quote from Charles Zettergren, President of CASBO.)

Click here to download.

 

CT Viewpoints: SBAC provides invaluable information about students — and their teachers

 

I had the privilege to work with talented educators who devoted their lives to reaching every child in their classrooms, literally spending day and night preparing lessons, correcting work or contemplating how to reach a struggling student.  These teachers took their role in their students’ lives very seriously, seeking feedback on ways to improve their craft.  For these teachers, evaluation was not a threat. They were doing their jobs proudly and effectively.  They had nothing to fear, but only information to gain that would help them improve.

In every profession, people are accountable for the work that they do. Is a surgeon a good surgeon because she comes to work each day and is friendly? Or do we look at the number of successful operations and her cure rate?   If a teacher’s job is to teach children, shouldn’t that teacher be accountable for whether or not the children learned that information?

Read the full story here.

CT Viewpoints: State Board of Education demands action on teacher evaluation

 

I applaud the SBE for pushing back on PEAC’s recommendation and drawing a real line in the sand.

Connecticut’s teacher evaluation model, which has never been fully implemented to date, calls for using measures of student growth as one of many components of a teacher’s evaluation. However, during the past two years, the use of state data on student learning has been “de-coupled” or excluded from evaluations.

It is highly unfortunate that Connecticut’s poor students do not have the resources to hire their own lobbyists to rebut the CEA’s proposals. Instead, these students are expected just to accept Connecticut’s education system as is —a system in which 44 percent of Connecticut graduates find themselves in need of remediation when they go to college. That seems like a raw deal to me.

Read the full story here.

Page 1 of 5212345...102030...Last »