State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor was huddled at lunch in the Legislative Office Building cafeteria today with the leadership of the Connecticut Education Association and a senior aide to House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan.

They did not appear to be reviewing their NCAA brackets.

The mood was light, despite the increasingly rancorous tone of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education forums, where his proposed education reforms have come under attack from unionized teachers. Coincidentally, Malloy was seated a few tables away, having lunch with young staff members.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., who would love to see some of the heat go out of the education issue before the governor’s bill comes up for a vote, walked by with a cup of soup, smiled and told the group the sight was encouraging.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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