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bernstj on 2012-04-15Recently, I responded to an absurd and downright disturbing Op-Ed by a Connecticut education reform organization that claimed that Connecticut needed to move quickly to adopt teacher evaluation/tenure reforms and expand charter schooling because a) Connecticut has a larger achievement gap and lower outcomes for low income students than Massachusetts or New Jersey and b) New Jersey and Massachusetts were somehow outpacing Connecticut in adopting new reformy policies regarding teacher evaluation. Now, the latter assertion is questionable enough to begin with, but the most questionable assertion was that any recent policy changes that may have occurred in New Jersey or Massachusetts explain why low income children in those states do better, and have done better at a faster rate than low income kids in Connecticut. Put simply, bills presently on the table, or legislation and regulations adopted and not yet phased in do not explain the gains in student outcomes of the past 20 years.
Note that I stick to comparisons among these states because income related achievement gaps are most comparable among them (that is, the characteristics of the populations that fall above and below the income thresholds for free/reduced lunch are relatively comparable among these states, but not so much to states in other regions of the country).
I’m not really providing much new information in this post, but I am elaborating on my previous point about the potential relevance of funding equity – school finance – reforms – and providing additional illustrations.