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November 18, 2014

Connecticut Education in Crisis: 40,000 Children Trapped in Failing Schools

Brief from ConnCAN Reveals Low-Performing Schools Disproportionately Impact Low-Income Students of Color 

  New Haven, CT – Today, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) released an issue brief detailing an education crisis that is trapping nearly 40,000 students in 63 persistently failing schools across the state. The majority of these schools are concentrated in five cities—Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Waterbury—and disproportionately impact students of color and students living in poverty. On average, 87 percent of students at these schools are African American or Hispanic while 90 percent of students come from low-income households.

“Every child in Connecticut deserves a high-quality public education. Yet our analysis shows a persistent failure to provide educational opportunity to our most vulnerable students,” said ConnCAN CEO, Jennifer Alexander. “A small and growing number of schools across this state are producing great results for kids, especially students of color and those living in poverty, but far too many students remain trapped in broken schools with no viable alternatives. This is unfair and unacceptable. It is critical that our state leaders continue and accelerate progress that’s been made over the last four years. We need to take bold action to provide all kids with great schools and the opportunity for life long success.”

While the issue brief highlights successful schools across the state, it also draws attention to family demand for great schools, including the 4,000 Connecticut families on charter school waiting lists and the vastly oversubscribed application process for seats in magnet schools, illustrated by the 20,000 students applied for 5,000 seats in Hartford’s magnet schools this year. These numbers reflect the chronic and persistent failure in Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools and the lack of quality alternatives available to families in need.

The brief also underscores the immense costs of this crisis. According to the brief, the 8,000 students that drop out of schools each year will result in $4 billion in lost state revenue over their lifetimes, and tens of millions of dollars flowing into state prisons rather than into the state’s economy each year.

ConnCAN asserts that this is a solvable problem that will require Connecticut’s leaders to improve current, outdated policies that limit educators’ ability to meet the needs of students and prevent parents from seeking out and enrolling their children in higher-performing schools.

The brief is based on an analysis of data that was gathered for ConnCAN’s Report Card Project. To learn more about the ConnCAN Report Cards please visit conncan.org.


 The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now is a research and advocacy organization committed to promoting student-focused policies to ensure all of Connecticut’s students have equal access to quality public schools. Learn more at conncan.org.




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