New DFER CT Poll Shows Democrats Leading on CT Education
On Monday, we released a new poll of likely Connecticut voters, conducted by Survey USA and commissioned by our affiliate, Education Reform Now Advocacy CT (ERNA CT). The poll showed that 50% of likely voters trust Democrats over Republicans on issues related to Connecticut schools and education, and that Independents also trust Democrats more on education by an 18 point margin.
Another headline from the poll results is that Governor Ned Lamont is poised to easily defeat Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski in the upcoming elections, mirroring the results of several other public surveys. ERNA CT’s poll was released before a new Quinnipiac University poll with similar findings on the gubernatorial race. CT News Junkie covered both releases, noting that women put Lamont over the top.
An Encore for the Science of Reading on the National Stage Over the past week, Emily Hanford has unveiled her much-anticipated new podcast series, “Sold a Story”—an exposé on the origins of “balanced literacy” and how educators across the country came to incorrectly believe that beginning readers don't have to learn how to sound out words. Programs that instead rely upon disproven tactics like cuing and memorization are widely-used in Connecticut and across the country. Heinemann’s “Units of Study” out of Teachers College is one well-known example of this ineffective approach. Hanford is an acclaimed education reporter from American Public Media (APM) who has committed years to unpacking the reading wars, the outcomes for kids, and the importance of pedagogy based upon the cognitive science of how children learn to read. (Throwbacks to her work, for example, here and here.) We think “Sold a Story” is a must listen for anyone who knows an early reader or is making policy for students in our state!
Here in Connecticut, the evidence that most teachers have not been properly trained to teach reading—and that it has resulted in suffering throughout the academic careers of many students—was the impetus behind the state’s new “Right to Read” legislation. Just Thursday, the Right to Read CT Coalition put out a new one-pager that provides an update on the state's progress towards implementation. It’s well on its way!
Also exciting: our peers in Washington, D.C. are co-hosting a two-day conference on this topic with Decoding Dyslexia DC that begins TODAY at 2:30pm. Make sure you register fast to tune in!
NAEP Results Disappoint, Quantifying Pandemic Toll
The results of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), sometimes called "the nation's report card," came out on Monday. They show a "massive drop in math scores," as well as a decrease in reading, according to coverage by Chalkbeat—which calls this set of data the most detailed and authoritative accounting of declines since the start of the pandemic.
CT Insider's coverage notes that Connecticut’s results were consistent with the national narrative. In Math, Connecticut students saw the largest decline on this test since the first administration in 1990. Connecticut’s scores in reading also dropped to the lowest average score since that time.
Although perhaps we all expected a pandemic slide, the Education Reform Now policy team put out a statement noting that these results underscore the importance of a high-quality educational experience for all students. “If the quality of education did not matter,” VP of K-12 Policy Charles Barone observed, “we would have seen no drop in NAEP scores at all following the learning disruptions caused by the pandemic.” So true.
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