NEW HAVEN, CT – The results of the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) point to a widening achievement gap between Connecticut’s low-income and non-low-income students in the 4th and 8th grade in reading and math. Connecticut continues to have the unfortunate distinction of having, on average, the largest achievement gap between its low-income and non-low-income students in the nation.

Since 2009, the average achievement gap between low-income and non-low-income students on 4th and 8th grade reading tests increased from 2.97 to 3.1 grade levels. The achievement gap between low-income and non-low-income students on the 4th and 8th grade math tests widened slightly to 3.2 grade levels. This leaves our low-income students three years behind their non-low-income peers.

According to Peyton Patterson, Chair of The Connecticut Council for Education Reform, “Connecticut has taken only incremental steps towards the policy changes needed to begin closing the achievement gap, particularly when compared to neighboring states like Massachusetts and New York. With the strong leadership of our Governor and our new Education Commissioner, we need to build the momentum to change our current direction and make fundamental education reform a reality for our students.”

“The health of Connecticut’s economy depends on educating and retaining a highly educated work force and the widening achievement gap is a true a call to action,” said Steve Simmons, vice-chair of The Connecticut Council for Education Reform. “The time to act is now. These results demonstrate that we have to dedicate ourselves to education reform as spelled out in our recommendations.”

Governor Malloy has stated that “much of the 2012 legislative session should be devoted to the issue of education”. The widening achievement gap underscores the urgent need for bold education reform.