While changing the way the state distributes school aid among towns may draw substantial support from legislators and the governor, they have shown little interest in, or have outright rejected, changing other polices a Superior Court judge found unconstitutional. Last of seven stories.
The rate at which students are identified for special education varies drastically across school districts, and school officials differ on whether that’s because districts are over- or under-indentifying students. But they agree the rising cost to educate these students has outpaced inflation and crowds out other supports for students. The state judge presiding over a recent school funding trial blamed the state for not enforcing clear mandates on who is entitled to special education. Sixth of seven stories.
A seeming paradox – rising graduation rates coupled with low standardized test scores and high demand for remedial courses in college – was among the reasons that a Hartford Superior Court judge ruled that the state fails to provide students with the education the state constitution says they are entitled to. Fifth of seven stories.
Introducing bold reforms or enforcing standards to aid struggling students in poor districts have largely stalled at the state Capitol or the State Department of Education amid conflict over policy, local control or whether resources are adequate. Fourth of seven stories.
School construction costs, coupled with well over $1 billion the state must contribute each year toward teachers’ pensions, mean about 40 percent of the state’s annual education spending is locked in for years to come. Third of seven stories.
To fix the formula, legislators would have to decide whether there is inequity in how state aid is distributed to towns, simply a lack of money, or both. Any major change would mean huge fiscal consequences and political battles. Second of seven stories.
“The state of education in some towns is alarming,” wrote the judge presiding over a recent five-month trial on state funding of failing schools. Whether the state is doing enough to educate children in poverty was at the core of the case, which explored the struggles of students in the state’s lowest-performing schools. First of seven stories.