Connecticut Schools In The Era Of Coronavirus: How Do They Rank?

CONNECTICUT — As parents across the state debate how or even whether their children will return to class in the fall, school superintendents are racking up accolades on how well their systems perform. The latest trophies come from personal finance website WalletHub, which has named Connecticut’s public schools second best […]

CONNECTICUT — As parents across the state debate how or even whether their children will return to class in the fall, school superintendents are racking up accolades on how well their systems perform.

The latest trophies come from personal finance website WalletHub, which has named Connecticut’s public schools second best in the nation, just behind those of neighboring Massachusetts.

The Nutmeg State scored particularly well with some new criteria beyond the traditional metrics of academic excellence and standardized test scores. Connecticut ranked No. 1 in the category of COVID-19 response, for instance, and 20th in bullying incidence rate.

Money, of course, matters in school district performance, as it does in just about everything else. Research from the Albert Shankar Institute concluded that “On average, aggregate measures of per-pupil spending are positively associated with improved or higher student outcomes.” To really make a difference, that money needs to be spent on bringing down class sizes, and recruiting/retaining the best teachers. Connecticut was 6th in pupil-teacher ratio, which no doubt helped the state achieve its first-place ranking for median ACT scores, and third-place rank in reading scores.

Public elementary and secondary education money usually flows from three sources: the federal, state and local governments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, states contribute nearly as much as local governments, while the federal government supplies the smallest share. But the coronavirus may soon be messing up all the math. More parents are looking at private schools this fall, as their already smaller class sizes allow them to fully reopen and still maintain social distancing where their public rivals cannot. But other research indicates there may be an exodus from pricey private schools as parents whose income has taken a beating during the pandemic look for ways to make ends meet. Where the ball stops, nobody knows…

Paul Hill, Emeritus Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington, told WalletHub that schools’ climb out of COVID will be “inconsistent and messy. In the long run, there will be more distance learning and more choice outside what a given school can provide. Working this out will take time, as parents’ and employers’ scheduling needs will matter, and districts have never before really considered these things. Biggest internal barrier: all money tied up in teacher salaries; schools will need teachers, but they must be able to make tradeoffs, e.g. to pay for superior online courses.”

In order to determine the best school systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across key measures of quality and safety. Here’s how Connecticut scored:

  • 12th – Math Test Scores

  • 3rd – Reading Test Scores

  • 6th – Pupil-Teacher Ratio

  • 1st – Median ACT Score

  • 21st – Percentage of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers

  • 13th – Dropout Rate

  • 20th – Bullying Incidence Rate

  • 26th – Percentage of Threatened/Injured High School Students

  • 1st – Statewide School Closure due to COVID-19

Although Connecticut students shined on the ACT, Massachusetts schools were magic when it comes to standardized reading and math scores:

Highest Math Test Scores:

  1. Massachusetts

  2. Minnesota

  3. New Jersey

  4. Virginia

  5. Wyoming

Highest Reading Test Scores:

  1. Massachusetts

  2. New Jersey

  3. Connecticut

  4. New Hampshire

  5. Tie: Colorado and Utah

Below are the top ten states with the best public school systems, according to the WalletHub research. The complete report can be found here.

Rank

State

Total

Quality

Safety

1

Massachusetts

71.73

1

1

2

Connecticut

66.25

2

19

3

New Jersey

65.64

3

15

4

Virginia

63.75

4

3

5

Vermont

61.64

8

4

6

New Hampshire

61.27

7

6

7

Minnesota

59.89

6

22

8

Wisconsin

59.66

5

24

9

Delaware

59.65

15

2

10

Maryland

58.51

11

9

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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