Connecticut Supreme Court: Students guaranteed adequate standard of education quality

A wonderful gesture. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that not only must the state provide a substantially equal educational opportunity to its youth in its free public elementary and secondary schools, but they must also get an education that will adequately prepare them for college or a job in the real world.

Again, a wonderful gesture, but the talk this afternoon is exclusive to the way Connecticut funds public schools. The advance release of the opinion in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell is here. From the CTMirror

The decision makes educational quality a central factor in the argument that the state has failed to adequately fund its lowest-performing schools. It strengthens the hand of a coalition of municipal and education officials that is suing Connecticut over what it says is a broken and unfair system of paying for public education.

“This asserts once and for all that Connecticut schoolchildren have a constitutional right to a quality education,” said Dianne Kaplan deVries, project director for the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF).

Sen. Thomas P. Gaffey, D-Meriden, said Monday he agrees that the current system of funding education, with its heavy reliance on the property tax, is broken. But fixing it, especially in today’s economic climate, will be extremely difficult.

Rick Green at the Courant notes…

How many politicians are going to run for office on a platform that promises expanding the state income tax? We already have leading candidates running for governor promising no tax increases.

They may have little choice because of a state Supreme Court ruling Monday could upend Connecticut’s long history of using the property tax to fund public schools.

This study of Connecticut student scores is from 2005, but it paints a clear picture for those holding the purse strings to education funding at the local and state level.

It’s not student to teacher ratios, it’s not overall enrollment, it’s not computers in the classroom, or dollars spent per student … it’s the median income of residents in the school district. It is the hopes and aspirations of the parents, and the drive to get into a good college – they know they will be able to afford – that helps to improve student performance.

Nothing lowers a student’s drive more than the belief an exceptional grade point average won’t get them any more success in life

Read this post as well. It’s an excellent companion piece to the 2005 study.

3 replies
  1. Linda Mae
    Linda Mae says:

    Scores on the Mastery tests do NOT reflect the quality of education given.   We  forget that "failing" schools are made up of students who "fail" the test.

    Why?  Perhaps a quick review of what was once called the ERG – economic reference group demographics will answer the question.  ERG's in which students score well or above average share several similarities.  Parents have a college education, English is the language spoken at home, there are few receiving free or reduced lunch, the medium cost of a house is high and the medium income also.  Parental attitude towards education is positive,  high and supportive.

    Demographics in "failing" school ERG's paint almost the opposite picture.  Parents lack a high school education, English may not be the language spoken at home, there is a high percentage of free and reduced lunch, the medium cost of a house is low,  as well as the medium income.  Parental attitude towards education is not evident.  Remember the drive Hartford has every fall to encourage students to be there the first day of school.

    There have been studies on family attitude towards education which find it negative.  Parents who value education may read more to their children, take them on "field trips" to the library, help with homework…situations not included in the demographic information but only inferred.


    Consequently, it is not the amount of money, the quality of the teachers, the quality of the school building, the books, etc.  To improve the situation requires a change in attitude and improvement of living conditions.

    These are generalizations which cannot be ignored when trying to determine why some schools produce students who do well on a test and others do not.  Bill Cosby is my hero because he loudly values education.  Would more celebrities do so and convince kids that the ghetto is what they make it.  I've never known a student to do poorly because of skin color but have known many – of different ethnic backgrounds who do poorly because of attitude.  I had a poster in my classroom:  Attitude creates Altitude!  Study, Learn and Soar.


    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      Test scores are certainly not the only indicator, but they certainly are an indicator. That said, the study I provided and your information came up with the exact same results.

      The point is this law suit will simply result in districts demanding more cash.

  2. comanchepilot
    comanchepilot says:

    You guys want to see what happens when you fund schools from the state instead of using local money and local control?  Look to California.

    They changed their method of funding in the 1960's in response to a case very much like Sheff v. ONeil – and look what happened to education.  40 cents out of every dollar stays with the state funding bureaucrats who do nothing in the class room.  Every district STILL has a superintendent and principals and vices in every school –  the administrative load at the local level has not changed yet 40 cents of every dollar never reach the local distructs.

    Be careful what you wish for,

Comments are closed.