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Does Spending More on Education Lead to Better Performance?

A comparison of State Department of Education data might surprise you.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
While more funding can help local schools develop new programs and educational opportunities, data from the State Department of Education (SDE) shows that it does not have much effect on how students perform on standardized tests.

A comparison of 2013 standardized test performance rankings and per pupil spending for the 2012-13 academic year shows an interesting lack of correlation, with the state’s lowest and highest spending districts both offering Excelling schools, the SDE’s highest classification.
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Download the PDF above for a visual look at the data to help follow along with the analysis.
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A look at the schools coded by classification and sorted by per pupil spending shows an even distribution of Excelling, Progressing and Transitioning schools across all spending levels.

The majority of Review, Focus and Turnaround schools — those needing the most intervention — are in larger cities like Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London and Waterbury — and are also equally spread along the spending range.

The distribution of all six classifications is almost the same for schools spending less than the average of $14,961 as it is for schools spending more, with the latter actually trending just slightly worse.

(Assigning numerical values to the classifications, with Excelling at 1 through Focus at 6, the average for schools in districts spending less than $14,961 is 2.68; the average for schools in districts spending more than $14,961 is 2.77. The statewide average is 2.71.)

The lowest spending school district, Ellington, has six schools in the top three tiers and none in the bottom three. The highest, Cornwall, is classified as Excelling. Conversely, two districts with the most Review, Focus and Turnaround schools, Hartford and New Britain, are in the top and bottom 20 in spending, respectively.

The only trend is in the 15 districts spending more than $18,475 per pupil — halfway between the lowest, $11,234, and the highest, $25,716 — which are all classified in the top three tiers.

Learn more about the classifications system and how your local schools performed using this interactive map and searchable database.

John Butler March 26, 2014 at 09:52 PM
John Collins: If you were sending your children to a private school in New London today, you'd be paying $10-15,000 more per year than The Williams School, also situated in New London. And it would be well worth it.
James Bond March 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Linda, I'm a little uncomfortable with a blanket 'no'to unwed mothers. Circumstances we're unaware of could be involved.Not helping,in some way,these unwed moms hurts the child which is totally innocent in these situations.I understand your frustration,I feel it too,but once the 'horse is out of the barn' punishing the horse doesn't solve the problem.
Linda C March 27, 2014 at 11:16 AM
James you have just proved my point. Of course it doesn't apply to ALL unwed mothers, just as any statement doesn't always apply to ALL! However I am stating FACTS and it does apply to more than it should; but just the mentioning of a Fact has you feeling uncomfortable. Ergo that is exactly why the problems will never be addressed; because the mere mention of it makes you feel guilty, uncomfortable and or insecure about discussing it! And the so Called Community Leaders are counting on just that!
James Bond April 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Linda, Sorry to react to your post so late,I was away( not prison ). I reacted to what you said earlier about unwed mothers. To which you had no disclaimer because it said unwed mothers only. Now you say," of course it doesn't apply to ALL unwed mothers".To me you're the one sounding like you want it both ways and that sounds more like our fumbling politicans,than my post. That said, I do understand where you're coming from and posts are not the easiest way to state it sometimes.Your attack on how I feel is unwarrented just because I pointed out a flaw in your post. Sorry about that hope to hear from you soon.
Linda C April 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM
James glad you found your way home lol. I truly wasn't trying to attack your comment, merely trying to clear up the confusion on my earlier posting. In a nut shell James, we are (as tax payers) being forced to pay for whatever little program pops in their heads. Unfortunately the ones already in place aren't cancelled, it's just a process of adding more and more programs that have been proven not to work, as well as picking up the pieces of those who aren't doing their jobs. I'm all for helping, but lets find out what works, along with squashing those that don't - not double programs only to find out none work!! Enjoy whatever up and coming holiday you chose to celebrate. Not sure about you, but I'm not finding this new improved Patch as stimulating as when it was more focused on our individual town issues, so haven't been on much either!

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