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Education on the Ballot, and the Value of Connecticut Higher Education

Education Is On the Ballot

Yesterday, Emerson College Polling released a new survey, conducted for WTNH and The Hill in September, which shows Governor Ned Lamont with a 10 percentage point lead over challenger Bob Stefanowski.

This month, Stefanowski's campaign has embraced far-right, extremist rhetoric with respect to education, calling for a "parental bill of rights" in a proposal that is as divisive as it is thin on details. In a Hearst CT opinion over the weekend, Amy penned a response to the Stefanowski agenda, urging Democrats to offer a clear narrative about the strong record they can stand on relating to education. Connecticut voters and parents are less interested in divisive identity politics when it comes to their children’s education, she argues. (Indeed, the CT Post did a story on Sunday about the fact that Republicans are ditching their messaging on critical race theory because it wasn't a successful tactic.) Rather, the opinion piece argues, voters and parents care about:

  1. Academic recovery after the pandemic;

  2. Children's emotional health and safety; and

  3. How the influx of federal recovery resources is being used to help students.

Her piece addresses Democrats’ proven record on each of the topics. Read it here.

The Value of Connecticut Higher Ed

Over the weekend, US News & World Report released its annual ranking of the best universities in the nation. Yale, which CT Insider notes was ranked 5th last year, tied for the Number 3 spot this year. In addition, there were several other Connecticut schools that faired well on the national rankings:

  • UConn ranked 26th for top public schools;

  • University of Bridgeport ranked 82nd in social mobility; and

  • Wesleyan, Trinity, and Connecticut College all ranked high among liberal arts colleges (numbers 18, 39, and 55, respectively).

But there's one particularly notable figure among numerous critics of ranking systems. US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has called some higher education ranking "a joke," observing that methodology emphasizing wealth and prestige is of far less value than the opportunities that a school creates. "We must stop conflating selectivity with excellence," CNN quotes Cardona as saying. The Washington Post's coverage notes that the website, "College Scorecard," launched by the Obama administration, allows for meaningful comparisons like earnings of former students, levels of debt, graduation rate, and more. Schools should be competing to create economic mobility, not exclusivity.

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