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Milford High Schools Ranked 100th Best In State

What can be done to improve CAPT scores in Milford schools? Democrats and Republicans weigh in.

The Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) is an annual exam administered to Connecticut high school sophomores at the beginning of March. This week, Democratic 4th District Vice Chairman posted a study on his Facebook page from SchoolDigger.com in which 2010 and 2011 CAPT scores from Connecticut's 191 high schools were compared.

In 2011, was ranked 103rd. This was down 24 spots from their 2010 ranking of 79th best CAPT score average in Connecticut in 2010. was ranked 97th in the same year, up 18 spots from their 2010 ranking of 115th best CAPT score average.

In anticipation of the upcoming release of 2012 CAPT results, Republicans and Democrats and Milford have weighed in on the state of the education system in Milford, and possible solutions to the overall middling performances by Foran and Law in 2011, which saw each school moving nearly 20 spots up or down, and both ending up as about the 100th best high school in Connecticut.

"You tell me the per capita income of a school district and I'll tell you the CAPT scores +- 5% with just a few outliers," Michael Brown stated in an email, explaining that he used 2010 census numbers to come up with that statistic.

Milford Republican Town Committee Chairwoman directed questions to National Review publisher and Milford parent , whom DiLullo described as having a "fantastic grasp of the complexities" of Milford test scores.

"We're one of the wealthier towns in the state," Jack Fowler said on a phone call yesterday. "They will make make excuses. 'Oh, you're comparing Milford to these 23 towns. We have more kids.' Meanwhile, the test scores keep going down."

Fowler went on to say, "There's handcuffs all over. The solution has to be labor contracts. The Union contract rules the day."

Pointing to the taxpayers, Fowler said, "What would it be if we were paying half and getting the same results? Throwing money at the issue is not the solution."

For the 2012-2013 City of Milford Budget, the Finance Board is recommending a 1.7% increase in education operations, bringing the $85.4 million budget of 2011-2012 up to $86.8 million. This increase is less than the move up in 2010-2011 to 2011-2012, which took the budget from $83.2 million to $85.4 million, increasing education operations by 2.7%.

Describing Milford Public Schools' treatment of high school students, Fowler said, "We are at the end of the manufacturing process. Here's a spatula, go flip hamburgers. This is a terrible thing we've done to these children."

Michael Krauss May 02, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Our schools have been in a state flux since the revolving doors of the superintendent's office have been spinning out of control. We desperately need stability in that position. In April of last year Dr. Elizabeth Feser was appointed as superintendent. Dr. Feser received her B.A. in Theology and History at St. Xavier College (Chicago) in 1971, followed by a M.Ed. in Religious Education from Boston College in 1976. After working in the professional educational setting for several years, Dr. Feser continued her post-graduate studies and received both her masters and doctoral degrees in Education Administration from Columbia University in 1985. Dr. Feser has been here for 1 year. It's hardly a blip in time to measure her effectiveness. My sense is that Dr. Feser will take the opportunity to analyze and evaluate the current state of public education in our city. With her extensive experience, training and background and with helpful leadership from the Board of Education, I believe that there will be a considerable change for the good of all of our children who attend our schools.
CuriousOrange May 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Why not a longer school day, with the added time devoted to test score deficits, one on one?
Ryan Sartor (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 01:59 PM
A comment left on the Milford Patch Facebook page: J. Darrin Smith: "Enough with the experiments in education and let's go back to the basics...!!!!!!!"
arkay May 02, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I'm a product of one of the consistently top 20 high schools in CT. We scored high on our CAPT test. I myself had very high scores. What does it matter? In reality, it doesn't. Our teachers drilled us on CAPT tests for months. The lesson? How to take a CAPT test. Little was learned. Except how to do well on this very specific test. So much emphasis is put on CAPT tests when people look into buying in towns, but the real things that matter are quality of teachers, school resources, number of students in honor roll/AP classes, graduation rate, % to higher education, etc.
David Chesler May 02, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Agreed Ryan. One of the factors that is driving me from Massachusetts to your fair city is the emphasis here on MCAS to the exclusion of everything else. Smart kids (like mine, of course :-) ) have learned that school is easy and boring while the administration works to make sure every student gets into the "adequate" range. Grade for grade the kids have learned less in our OK suburb than I did back in a run-of-the-mill public middle school in the Bronx (eg my entire class took algebra in 8th grade, here it's taught in 9th grade. eg they've learned a mechanical way to write compositions, but have no long or creative writing assignments.) In the bigger picture the reason our nationwide test scores have fallen relative to the past (compared to other countries) is not so much a decline in the middle, but a loss of the scores a few standard deviations better. Too much emphasis on test scores leads to teaching to the tests. I hope the Milford schools do not fall into that trap.
Rick May 02, 2012 at 05:14 PM
The test scores are very important for Milford! The superintendent should look into why this is happening. Why has Foran High School gone from 79th to 103rd? Year after year their is an increase in spending yet we don't see the results necessary. Obviously, there isn't enough review for these tests. This needs to be taken seriously!
Joe ,Meade May 03, 2012 at 03:54 AM
teaching to the test will be the downfall of our education system. we need to up the standards and not judge our students solely on their scores, but rather if we prepared them for college and the workplace. More importantly we need to raise children to be productive citizens in our community. Forget the scores and get them out of the classroom to learn about life and how to respect and help people. Education should be an experience, not a test to measure who has the best memory or knows a good test taking strategy. Can they solve a real life problem or deal with an actual situation? That's the measure of whether we taught them, not some standardized test score that measures little practical knowledge or the ability to think on your feet. The current system stifles creativity and out of the box thinkers. They graduate from college and they don't understand what compound interest means! Until of course they have to pay off a 100k student loan and a 10k credit card. then it's too late! No Child Left Behind is leaving us all behind. Behind China, India and the list goes on......
Joseph Witt May 23, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Milford recently has not valued seasoned staff . Experienced staff have left the system in large numbers . Principals are inexperienced. Thank goodness ,My child had better in Fairfield County .
Milford Mom June 08, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Test scores do provide some value but remember these test are just a few short hours of our children's lives. They are not and should not be the end all/be all. My child was taught nothing but test material for CMTs in 3rd grade. As a result, she had to learn all of her 3rd grade math and her 4th grade math in one year. These students are no longer taught how to write in "script". The teachers have no time - they are teaching for the tests. These tests were created to pigeon hole our children's potential - something which cannot be measured. You want higher test scores - fine. I personally want well educated children and you won't get that if you are just teaching to get good test scores.

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