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New Right to Read FAQ; the ROI of Higher Ed; and Teacher Shortages Prompt Student Relocation

New: “Right to Read” Implementation FAQ

Following last week's meeting of the Reading Leadership Implementation Council—the Right to Read CT Coalition has released a new FAQ document regarding the statewide literacy legislation, based on commonly raised questions.

The State asked all public school districts to fill out a "survey of intent," revealing that the majority plan to incorporate state-approved, "Science of Reading" core curricula within the next 18 months. But a few districts and thought leaders still have questions, such as:

  • Why should all districts, even those that are “high-performing,” use one of the state-approved early literacy programs?

  • Can a district maintain a Balanced Literacy core program with a phonics-based supplement?

  • Will districts receive funding for implementation?

The Coalition’s new document answers some of these questions. Read it here.

The ROI of Higher Ed

Over the weekend, the Washington Post covered recent efforts to ensure colleges are giving students "return on investment" information. Several states now require the distribution of some of this data, and the federal government's College Scorecard website publishes information like graduation rates, average costs, and median earnings. It’s still not clear that students themselves will make use of such data; however, Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger from the Data Quality Campaign says the information is especially useful when shared with high school career counselors.

A recent analysis from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity ranks state public university systems across the country by median return on investment (ROI)—defined as the amount a student can expect to gain financially from each degree. South Dakota, the top performing public college system in the country by this metric, produces a median ROI of $217,000. The study ranks Connecticut among the bottom five on a list of fifty, with an ROI of $39,000. Check out that analysis here.

(In case you missed it, CT Insider also has an interactive graph of the state's highest-paid employees by agency this week.)

In 2019, ERN CT looked at the issue of ROI for Connecticut higher ed in a report called “Less for More,” which compared costs and completion rates in Connecticut’s 4-year colleges. The report found that: (1) many Connecticut colleges have low rates of completion, especially for underrepresented minority student; (2) almost half of Connecticut colleges charge exceptionally high net prices to low-income students, relative to the costs they would incur if they went to a comparable school in another state, and (3) some "double offenders," offered both low graduation rates and high prices, a poor ROI for prospective students. (Watch this space for an update on that analysis soon!)

Bridgeport Teacher Shortage Prompts Student Relocation

In the face of staffing shortages, the Bridgeport Board of Education voted Monday to authorize the district's Interim Superintendent to relocate seventh and eighth graders from Wilbur Cross School to Thomas Hooker School. Some Wilbur Cross parents have expressed concerns, both that their students have been underserved since the fall and that a mid-year transfer will be disruptive—while some Thomas Hooker parents worried about the influx of new students impacting class sizes. CT Post and News 12 both have coverage of the story, making clear that the related issues of teacher certification and teacher shortages should remain a top priority in this state.

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