There are two reasons that this is nonsense: first, neither NJ or MA has yet implemented anything like Malloy proposes; second, NJ and MA actually addressed school financing reform years ago when CT didn't, and that is far more likely to stand as the reason for their relative successes.
Bruce Baker weighed in on this - twice. Jon Pelto weighed in. Jon Pelto then pointed to a whole bunch of other people who weighed in. All said the same thing: the notion that poverty has little to do with student achievement is absurd on its face.
Well, I guess embarrassment can be a powerful motivator, because Rae Ann Knopf of CCER is dialing it way, way back. What follows is a classic case of reformy damage control, which I will happily translate for you:
It’s important to clarify a point made earlier this week by the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER). CCER understands and appreciates all of the challenges that poverty presents to our state’s educators. We know that there are great teachers and great school leaders across the state who are tirelessly working to improve the lives of children in poverty, but the statistics tell us that we have to do more because we are not meeting the needs of all of our state’s children. We appreciate everyone’s efforts, but we need to do more because we know that education is the key to career success and economic self-sufficiency.OK, I said: "We cannot continue to blame the current state of education in Connecticut on poverty," but that's not what I meant! I meant that we need to do more; and by "we," I mean teachers, and not the people funding my operation, who are taking more of the money and paying less in taxes than just about any time in modern history.
If you are looking for evidence to show the effects of poverty can be overcome by good teaching, it is not hard to find. There are reams of data to show a difference can be made in the achievement levels of children who start out behind because they live in poverty. Teachers play the central role in accomplishing this.See, teachers can help poor kids learn. Therefore, we just need to force them to make poor kids learn more! That way, I won't have to call for policies that address childhood poverty outside of the school; I just plop the whole thing down on the teachers' laps! Neat trick, huh?
This is why we started this work, to put into practice ways to help teachers and principals to accomplish this on a more regular basis. For the more than 1 in 5 Connecticut students who don’t graduate high school or the 2 in 5 who don’t if they live in poverty; continuing these efforts is essential. For the rest of us, failure to change this equation creates dramatic consequences for our state. Students who drop out of high school in Connecticut can expect to make an average of $19,000 a year during their most productive years – between the ages of 25 and 34, and cost the state $518,000 in lost revenues and expenses. These statistics can be changed. I know they can because I have lived them.I'm putting these statistics out there in the hope that you don't ask how I think schools can possibly alleviate all of the effects of childhood poverty, and hoping you ignore all the evidence that they can't.
It’s time we stopped talking about who is right, and focus attentions on doing what is right. Restore the essential policies that will help Connecticut educators change the stars of our most disadvantaged children today. They cannot wait another year.Please don't continue to make me eat my own words; it's embarrassing.
It sure is.