The business-backed Connecticut Council for Education Reform – which lobbies at the state Capitol and is often a voice opposing the state’s teachers’ unions – is folding into the state’s chief business organization, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

“For a long time we’ve worked on very parallel paths. If we work together, we could be more impactful,” said Jeffrey Villar, the executive director of CCER.

The combined organization will operate within CBIA’s existing Education & Workforce Partnership. Villar has been named the vice president of education policy for the partnership, and Andrea Comer, the partnership’s existing executive director, will become the vice president for workforce strategies.

The CCER has an annual budget of about $1.2 million and four full-time employees. With the move to the CBIA, one employee who has office and human resources-related responsibilities will be let go. Villar said with the change, costs are expected to drop to about $700,000.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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