I cannot be entirely objective about this story which ran in the op-ed section of today's Washington Post. Of course I think it's good that Connecticut pays its teachers so well. I can't help but believe that high pay attracts good professionals who lead students toward achieving well on tests. It seems as if that states' schools serve its students well. It's more important to me that there appears to be a broader culture that supports the value of education in Connecticut. The statistic regarding how many residents in that state have earned degrees probably represents households where education is important: parents who read to their kids, parents who monitor their children's learning, and non-parent taxpayers who understand that building blocks to success occur in community schools.
So I'm wondering what else might be at work in Connecticut:
Might Connecticut's relatively high standard of living necessitate public teacher salaries which skew comparison to other states?
Is there much disparity between Connecticut's richest and poorest areas?
Does Connecticut enjoy the benefits of large urban centers like New York and Boston without having to pay for them via taxes that transfer wealth from suburbs to cities?