Dannel Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, is only kidding when he says: ‘We want a state where everyone is above average” — conjuring an image of that mythical radio land known as Lake Wobegone.
But he’s dead serious about the commitment to pre-school education and education throughout the years that has placed his state near the top of national rankings on a number of measures: No. 2 in pre-school enrollment, No. 3 in college readiness among high schoolers and No. 3 in general educational attainment of the populace at large. The state ranks No. 12 overall in the Best States measures at U.S. News and World Report.
As a mayor of Stamford for 14 years and then as governor since 2011, “I’ve been a big advocate of pre-K,” Malloy says. He considers it a matter of “closing the gap’’ between families that can afford pre-K and those who cannot. “The best educational buck spent is in the early years,” he says.
“We’re paying a lot of attention to education,’’ Malloy said in an interview with U.S. News at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. “I think what it reflects is a value system that has been long held in Connecticut that education is a great equalizer.”
The metrics also reveal the higher cost of higher education in a region with one of the nation’s highest costs of living — Connecticut ranks No. 47 in its cost of living. And the rankings for its well-known colleges are suppressed somewhat by the high cost of tuition — ranking the state No. 39 in the nation in college affordability, and the debt that graduates assume, No. 43. “We are doing our best to hold the price down,” Malloy says.