Massachusetts Does A Better Job Educating Poor Than CT

In the first of a series, Lessons From Next Door, Connecticut Mirror Reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas explains “The differing approaches to removing principals is just one of many areas where Massachusetts’ lawmakers have regularly taken bold action–or enabled local districts to–while Connecticut has been timid. It has shown in the outcomes for students from low-income families for years. Massachusetts over the last 20 years has moved to the top of the national rankings for achievement by students from low-income families while Connecticut has lagged.”

… Part of Massachusetts’ success stemmed from a “Grand Bargain” that annually infused hundreds of millions of additional state dollars into local school districts–predominantly those in poor communities. In return, the state took significant steps to bolster accountability when schools failed to improve with the new resources. Among them were:
— Setting higher expectations for what students should know as shown on standardized tests.
— Requiring students to demonstrate on a state test that they have mastered a certain body of knowledge required to receive a high school diploma.
— Giving local school officials more power to improve their own schools and then intervening with more authority when districts fall far short, including by changing leadership, overriding union contracts and temporarily superseding the local school board.

Full story here.



  1. What other socioeconomic trends and changes in state and local social services policy and funding were occurring prior to and during their education reform/accountability initiative? It would be useful to test other hypotheses regarding the attribution of cause and effect to the Massachusettes phenomenon… A multivariate analysis of other variable factors associated with educational achievement might be indicated in order to solidify claims and allay skepticism…

    1. Jeff, great point but the Bridgeport Board Of Education doesn’t have enough time to deal with improving the education standards for the students because they have more important issues like calling each other names and boycotts.

    2. eff Kohut, this is the first of a three part series. Lets see if Lennie Grimaldi grimaldi forgets the other two. Mass has a lot of smart people involved in bringing change all over the state. I’d be surprised if they haven’t done what you suggest.

  2. Joel. Indeed they have a lot of smart people,
    but they could have substantial political motive to suppress
    conflicting findings from such surveys… States like to show educational progress in terms of neat responses to highly paid politicically/connected bureaucrats making smart policy spending conditions, when progress could lie in employment/family stability imptovements, for example…

  3. Its is difficult to improve when you have a Board that constantly spar with eachother. Maybe they need to go on a road trip to Mass,and huddle up with their board.Find out exactly how they are doing things


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