© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Report Says Connecticut At Risk Of Having Unprepared Future Workforce

paperwork_1.jpg
David Wall
/
Creative Commons

Connecticut's education policymakers have a lot of work to do, if they want to improve access to higher education and ensure poor students are upwardly mobile, according to a recent state-by-state analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

The "college opportunity risk assessment" ranks each state according to how well they're doing things, like preparing students for college, and closing the gaps between rich and poor students. As it turns out, Connecticut is among the highest-risk states in the country, and the highest in New England.

"Connecticut needs to reconsider their policies to help some of these lower-income residents afford postsecondary education," said researcher Joni Finney, who helped put together the report.

"Some states, like Connecticut, can do relatively well in the preparation of young people, but we don't see them turn up in postsecondary education in this state," she said.

The state has a strong high school graduation rate. But, the report shows that almost two-thirds of 18- to 24-year-olds are not in college -- only 10 states have a smaller portion of young adults attending.

Finney said another challenge is financial.

"They are also fairly volatile in their higher education appropriations," Finney said, echoing a common concern expressed by the state's public college and universities. "So it makes it very hard -- for public institutions in particular -- to plan for the future, when they don't know exactly how much revenue is coming from the state."

She said the report is intended to be used in conjunction with local data to help make better decisions. But in an emailed statement, the state's education department said the report "fundamentally misunderstands Connecticut's commitment to education," and that it "uses irrelevant metrics to come to an incorrect conclusion."

"Indeed, despite fiscal challenges, the state has continued to prioritize education funding and improvement – particularly for our lowest-income students and communities," the statement read.  "Connecticut’s efforts to ensure college and career readiness by prioritizing rigorous coursework while in high school is paying off, as evidenced by Connecticut students’ high performance on college readiness exams."

The report's authors acknowledged that some of the data is five years old, but also noted that the report includes a technical sheet explaining how it got its data along with its limitations.

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content