State Question 744 would disastrously reduce state services, consuming almost 15 percent of the current budget in its third year. Will it improve student test scores? Almost certainly not: 10 years of annual increases in education funding have accompanied declining test scores. Money won’t buy high test scores.
The Pacific Research Institute found that in Orange County, Silicon Valley, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, expensive California areas, 50 percent to 80 percent of students weren’t proficient in math. Connecticut ranked first in teacher salaries and third in per-pupil expenditures in 2007. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found it had the largest achievement gap between poor and nonpoor students. Connecticut ranked 16th in fourth-grade math scores and 29th in eighth-grade math scores. Meanwhile, the percentages of students scoring proficient in math, reading and writing at Jumoke Academy, Hartford’s only charter school, was about three times as high as in surrounding public schools. Jumoke got $8,000 per student from the state; nearby schools got $13,600.
SQ 744 would add administrators (hiring more teachers means hiring more administrators). Applicants for graduate study in education administration from 2001 to 2004 had mean Graduate Record Examination scores of 427 for verbal and 523 for math. Of applicants in 51 fields of graduate study, these scores were sixth from the bottom. Let’s pare mostly subpar administrators and support more charter, Teach for America and Knowledge is Power schools to help students and teachers.