Connecticut Did Less with More

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

A faction of folks in Arizona’s K-12 debate yearns to be Connecticut, but be careful what you wish for-you just might get it. In 2009 CT 4th graders scored a whopping 15 points ahead of Arizona 4th graders in NAEP math. By 2013 that had narrowed to a five point advantage on 8th grade math.

In 2015 only a single point separated AZ and CT on 8th grade math. CT literally spent more than twice as much per pupil as AZ in 2013-14. The 8th grade NAEP shows the two states pretty evenly matched across subgroups in math and reading. Call me crazy but I think it is Connecticut who should envy Arizona on K-12 rather than the other way around.

2 Responses to Connecticut Did Less with More

  1. seanrickert says:

    Arizona has developed a highly efficient education system through adherence to solidly conservative principles like local control and school choice. Connecticut has maintained its adherence to liberal principles like collective bargaining for school employees. What we’re seeing is that some principles have led to better outcomes.

    But what comes next? At what point do we realize that when you push a set of principles developed in a past era too far without adequate stewardship, you create a new set of issues. Arizona needs to take steps forward to increase funding for education We also need to recognize that the models that work in Chandler or Suprise may not be as effective in St. David or Parker. Lastly we need to look forward and see how we can bring the individualized differentiated computer based learning tools to students in Arizona Public Schools.

    You are right, moving towards a CT model would be a huge step backwards. But, we ought not to begin resting on our laurels just yet.

    • matthewladner says:

      I agree that we can’t rest on any laurels. Funding has improved in the years since 2015, and if these charts are any guide Arizona’s educators are better at maximizing value out of the available funding than other states.

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