State Lags in US Education Scorecard

11.17.2009
Issues & Policies

If your child came home with a report card full of Cs with a D and an F, how would you respond? No more allowance, no more play time, a tutor perhaps? What happens when that “child” is actually the state of Connecticut?

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Institute for a Competitive Workforce released to Education Secretary Arne Duncan a state-by-state report card (“Leaders and Laggards”) that graded each state on eight education-related “subjects”: school management; finance; staffing (hiring and evaluation; and removal of ineffective teachers); data systems, pipeline to postsecondary education, technology (including the ratio of students to Internet-connected computers); and education reform environment.

Unfortunately, Connecticut scored Cs in every category except technology (D) and school management (F), with an “incomplete” in state reform environment. The report and grades raise the concern about the overall commitment to education reform in the state.

Just when the state needs to be positioning itself for economic recovery, Connecticut seems to be lagging in cultivating its most important resource – an educated and skilled workforce.

Lackluster results for Connecticut students in the most recent round of the SATs and CAPTs (Connecticut Academic Performance Tests) also support the argument that schools in the state need to do a better job of preparing students for college and the modern workplace, especially when it comes to math and science.

CAPT science and math scores dropped, and although Connecticut’s average SAT math score (508) was one point higher than last year’s mark, that score is still two points below the national average.

Action to shore up Connecticut’s education system is needed now. Eligibility for much-needed federal Race To The Top grant monies, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is tied to states’ performance on a series of metrics, many of them outlined in the U.S. Chamber’s report card.

Connecticut, once an educational leader, now has a long way to go and needs to make an all-out effort to succeed. For the state to remain an economic leader, policymakers, educators, and business leaders must work together to address the issues that are challenging our ability to produce enough skilled workers and sustain our competitiveness.

For the “Leaders and Laggards” report, visit uschamber.com.  

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