The Heritage Foundation has published the Education Freedom Report Card, a guide for parents to understand the level of education freedom in their states. The state of Connecticut was ranked 46 out of 51 overall, and last for return on investment (ROI) in education spending.
Four broad categories were defined to determine ‘education freedom’ scores for all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia: (1) Education choice, (2) Regulation, (3) Transparency, and (4) Spending.
Spending is a very important variable in assessing the degree of educational freedom. When parents have the ability to choose where to spend their education taxes, better educational outcomes are achieved at lower costs.
This Report Card is an eye opener into how the state of Connecticut spends our money while at the same time education freedom is restricted. CT spends more per pupil than every other state in the Union, except NY and DC. After adjusting for cost of living, using regional price parities by state for 2018, the cost per pupil is $22,163.
Not only this cost is well beyond the national average (about $15,000,) but for every 100 teachers employed by the State’s public school systems, we pay the salaries and benefits of 129 non-teaching staff employees.
Unfunded Teacher Pension Liabilities is also a variable considered in the methodology as a proxy for ‘concentration of teacher union power’ and ‘deficient political leaders who make decisions regarding public education.’ The state of Connecticut, with Pension Liabilities as a percentage of State GDP over 15%, ranks 8th in the Nation, only lower than AK, MS, HI, IL, KY, NJ, and NM.
Combining high costs per pupil, low Teacher-to-Non-Teacher Ratio, and very high Teacher Pension Liabilities, puts Connecticut last on the list for Return on Investment in education.
Now, envision a non-distant future in which the number of non-teaching employees dedicated to promoting progressive leftist ideologies increases at the expense of math and writing teachers. The outcome is predictable: Connecticut will be at the bottom forever.
Camilo Riano is a technology and management consultant who has worked for several management consulting firms, the state of Georgia, the city of New York, and the United Nations. He lives in Westport, CT with his wife and four children, and is strongly committed to the fight against indoctrination and the relentless attacks on their American values.