This year’s annual state assessment results show that when it comes to student achievement, Connecticut is still one of the most unequal states in the nation.
Last week, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) released analysis of the district and state data from the first round of Smarter Balanced Consortium Assessments (SBAC).
While the scores overall were about as low as was expected in Math and in English Language Arts (ELA), once data from student groups was disaggregated, the data tells a different story.
In affluent districts like New Canaan, Westport and Darien, approximately 82 percent of students are “on track” in reading, and 67 percent are “on track” in math.
Drive only a few miles up I-95 to places like Bridgeport and New Haven, and the results are quite different.
With the exception of Stamford, only 3 out of 10 students attending schools in Connecticut’s five largest urban districts met grade level goals in reading, and only 1 in 10 in math.
Why do we allow zip code and race to determine success in Connecticut?
But back to Stamford: Out of the five largest districts in Connecticut, Stamford students had the highest performance. Not only that, but when the data for student groups is disaggregated, low-income students fared better than the statewide averages.
While this is a bright spot, even then, less than half of Stamford students are “on track” in ELA and math.
Another example is Amstad Academy in New Haven. While less than 13 percent of all New Haven students are “on track” in reading, at Amstad, whose student body is majority low-income and minority students, nearly half of all students are at grade level.
More than anything, this data should reveal to state leaders that it’s high time we had an honest discussion about the staggering disparities in our education system.
The old approach isn’t working.
It’s clear that simply throwing money at low-performing districts won’t change anything without structural change.
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