First the good news: A higher rate of 3- and 4-year-olds in Connecticut were enrolled in preschool than in any other state between 2011 and 2013.

Now the bad news: Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in math and nearly the worst gap in reading between students from low-income families and their peers. And over the last 10 years, the gap on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test in math has actually grown and barely budged in reading.

These are just two of the highlights in the annual Quality Counts report from Education Week, a non-partisan national publication.

The preschool analysis is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2011, 2012 and 2013. Participants are asked whether their children attend a preschool where there is an educational component.

Connecticut in recent years has heavily invested in expanding the number of quality preschool seats it helps pay for. Last year lawmakers approved a plan that will enroll 6,000 additional students in quality preschools over the next four years.

Other highlights about the state in Education Week’s report include:

  • Family income is playing a smaller factor in whether children attend preschool, with the state closing the so-called “preschool poverty gap” at one of the fastest rates in the U.S. between 2008 and 2013.
  • The state has one of the lowest rates of children attending full-day kindergarten between 2009 and 2013.
  • The difference in per-student spending across districts ($6,708 a year) was one of the highest in the nation in 2012.
  • Connecticut spends more per-student ($15,172 per year) after factoring in the region’s high cost of living than nearly every state.

Correction: This article originally stated the achievement gap in reading worsened  over the last 10 year. The gap actually grew in math.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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