Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline won two first prizes from the Education Writers Association for her work in 2012 – one in beat reporting for her overall education coverage, and the other in investigative reporting on a series of stories revealing questionable monetary and personnel actions taken by the Board of Regents for Higher Education. In 2016, she was a finalist in the EWA competition for single-topic coverage for her reporting on how schools are funded in Connecticut. Before coming to The Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for Southern Maryland Newspapers. She has also worked for Congressional Quarterly and the Toledo Free Press. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College. She and her husband, two sons and two dogs live in Hartford.

Keith M. Phaneuf

Keith, with Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, won first prize in investigative reporting from the Education Writers Association in 2012 for a series of stories on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The former State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Keith has spent most of 24 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut's transportation and social services networks. A former contributing writer to The New York Times, Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut. E-mail him at kphaneuf@ctmirror.org.

Recent Posts

Newtown school officials defend handling of shooter’s education, refute state findings

The gunman who killed 20 elementary students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School a few years after he graduated from the school district showed “remarkable progress” thanks to the special education services he received while in school, according to two former officials from the school system. Continue Reading →

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Fate of state’s school integration efforts rests with federal judge

BRIDGEPORT — A federal judge will soon determine whether his court should get involved in how the state awards enrollment to students in high-performing magnet schools located throughout Connecticut. At issue is whether the lottery’s algorithm – which is designed to limit enrollment of black and Hispanic students in a school to 75 percent – is discriminatory, and therefore a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Continue Reading →

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Do magnet schools need white students to be great?

In the Hartford region, a difference in philosophies about whether segregation contributes to poor educational outcomes divides parents, educators and lawmakers. Most magnet schools have no problem attracting enough white students from the suburbs to go to school with city kids, but some struggle. This means seats in some schools are left open to maintain diversity – a reality that is causing a rift among neighbors about what should happen next. On Tuesday, a federal judge will consider whether the state must stop considering race when awarding seats. Continue Reading →

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This teacher of the year, now congressional candidate, has found the solution to getting more minority teachers

Jahana Hayes knows what it is like to be one of the few minority teachers in a school where the overwhelming majority of the students are black or Hispanic. Now – in-between running for Congress – she’s working to make the path to a teaching career easier for others who have backgrounds similar to the students who attend inner-city districts. Continue Reading →

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Creating the Board of Regents? Brilliant or a blunder, depending who you ask

Seven years have passed since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy forced a merger of the state’s community colleges, regional Connecticut State Universities, online college and Office of Higher Education. Many promises were made by the freshman governor: tens of millions would be saved, more professors hired, and transferring between schools would be seamless. “This won’t be easy,” Malloy, a Democrat, warned during his first weeks in office when proposing the shakeup. “Certainly there are a lot of people listening to this who believe things are fine just the way they are. I disagree.” Continue Reading →

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A pregnant teen dies, and DCF debates value of more transparency

Testifying at the state Capitol complex Wednesday about a spate of suicide attempts at the state’s psychiatric facility for children, the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families held up her right hand and promised to start publicly disclosing  when outside inspectors  deem the facility unsafe. Continue Reading →

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Independent reviews describe state’s failure to protect children at Middletown psychiatric facility

Two independent reviews of Connecticut’s residential psychiatric hospital for children in Middletown describe a staggering failure by multiple state agencies to protect children, and provide details about an environment so unsafe that seven other children attempted to kill themselves in the months surrounding the suicide of an 8-months pregnant teenager in June. Continue Reading →

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Ben Barnes under consideration for higher-education post

Ben Barnes, who has overseen Connecticut’s budget as the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management from the first days of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, is on a short list of candidates interviewed for the vacant post of chief financial officer at the state’s system of community colleges and regional universities. Continue Reading →

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New tax break for private K-12 tuition begins this school year

A new state tax break is available this school year to help parents pay for private K-12 school tuition – a development triggered by the federal tax overhaul. The state has for years allowed parents to avoid paying state income taxes on up to $10,000 each year that they put into a college savings account, known as a 529 CHET account. In addition, they have not had to pay taxes on the money when it is withdrawn or on the investment earnings when they use it to pay for college. Now, those state tax benefits have been extended to allow parents and relatives to also use these 529 accounts for private, elementary and secondary school. That’s because the federal tax law that was changed last December on these accounts extends a federal tax benefit to include K-12 tuition. Continue Reading →

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More low-income, Hispanic students taking AP classes, narrowing disparities

The state has seen a drastic increase in participation in AP courses among Connecticut students from low-income families and — most notably — among Hispanic students. Nearly 2,000 more Hispanic students in Connecticut took at least one Advanced Placement exam last school year compared to five years ago – a 79 percent jump. Continue Reading →

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