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No U-Turns Allowed: Let’s Keep Moving Forward


It was a busy day today at the Capitol for those of us in Connecticut who are interested in education. This morning, the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) voted unanimously to separate the rollout of the Smarter Balanced Assessments and the new teacher evaluation and support system (also known as SEED). Later on, the GOP held a press conference to call for a public hearing on the implementation of Common Core. It seems that before the 2014 legislative session has even begun, we’ve been bombarded by pushback against these critical reform efforts that have been passed and implemented over the past few years.

While we support PEAC’s decision to separate test results from teacher evaluations this year, we are strongly opposed to any defunding or delay of Common Core implementation. Here’s why:Read More »

Real Story–Debating Education Reform


On January 23rd, Jeffrey Villar and Joe Cirasuolo (executive director of CAPSS) talked ed-reform with Laurie Perez. Check out the video here.

Norwich Bulletin–We Cannot Afford to Give Up On or Delay Education Reform


Jeffrey Villar is correct when he says there is nothing easy about implementing education reforms, especially when it seems that everything is being changed all at once.

Villar’s observation is based on his experience as school superintendent in Windsor where he oversaw pilot programs testing both new teacher evaluations standards tied to student performance and the introduction of new Common Core Standards in the same years.

“It’s difficult, but it can be done,” he told The Bulletin’s editorial board recently. “What I can tell you from my experience is, the second year went much smoother than the first year when it was launched.”

Villar is now the executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER). Having long supported sweeping education reforms, we invited Villar to meet with us to discuss those education reform efforts in preparation of the upcoming legislative session, and in particular concerns being raised over calls to delay full implementation of teacher evaluations this year because of the introduction of the Common Core Standards.Read More »

New Haven Register–Reform Advocates Seek More Connecticut Pre-School Slots


By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo

NEW HAVEN >> A nonprofit education organization is hoping to gain legislative support for several of its objectives for 2014, such as the creation of more preschool opportunities for children in low-income families.

The New Haven-based Connecticut Council for Education Reform, which works to improve academic outcomes for students statewide, is pursuing five recommendations for the upcoming legislative session.

One proposal is to finance 500 to 1,000 new preschool slots for low-income children in the 2014-15 budget year.

“We estimate there are about 6,500 children who could use pre-K slots that don’t exist,” said Jeffrey Villar, council executive director and a former superintendent of schools in Rocky Hill and Windsor.

“We know preschool makes a significant impact on students and helps close the achievement gap” between children from low-income families and their peers.

Nicki Perkins, program manager for the council, said this proposal is estimated to cost Read More »

Bristol Press–OUR VIEW: Offering Another Alternative


Jeffrey A. Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, an education-minded group of business executives, recently told the State Board of Education that the state needs more “transformative” leaders.

His proposal, the Journal Inquirer reported, is that the state loosen its accreditation restrictions on school principals and other administrators. That would allow the state to expand its alternate certification program to principals, creating something similar to the path it now offers for midcareer professionals who want to bring their earned expertise to teaching through the Alternate Route to Certification program, offered by New Britain’s own Charter Oak State College.

We think it’s a good idea.Read More »

Journal Inquirer–Education Group Reveals Priorities


By Ed Jacovino

HARTFORD — For an education-minded group of business executives, the biggest priority for fixing the state’s schools is keeping the changes lawmakers adopted in 2012 on track.

“What was accomplished in 2012 was significant,” Ramani Ayer, vice chairman of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, told the State Board of Education this week. “Having reform does not mean students learn and does not mean students attain. Implementation of these reforms is 90 percent of the work.”

Ayer, a former CEO at The Hartford, said in outlining the group’s priorities to the board that first on the list is to “defend” the 2012 law and to fight against “rollback and defunding.”

The law created a new evaluation system for teachers and made it easier for school boards to fire educators, changing the standard from “incompetent” to “ineffective.”

The law also gave the state additional authority to intervene in low-performing schools, funneled more state money for education into low-performing school systems, and expanded access to preschool in urban areas.

Ayer said he doesn’t want the changes to be abandoned simply because people didn’t see results quickly enough.Read More »

CCER on the Stan Simpson Show


On January 11th, Jeffrey Villar’s interview with Stan Simpson aired on the Stan Simpson Show. View the discussion of our legislative agenda for 2014 here.

Hearst Communications–CT Council for Ed Reform Unveils Top Priorities


By Eileen Fitzgerald

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform today released its policy priorities for the 2014 legislative session.
Jeffrey Villar, CCER’s executive director, said the organization’s primary priority is to protect the education reforms passed through legislation in 2012 and 2013.

“The key to a more prosperous future for our state is providing every single child with a world-class education,” Villar said. “That’s why we need to sustain the reform efforts that began in 2012, and we need to support their successful implementation. That means no de-funding. No delays.”

CCER’s four other priorities for this coming legislative session are to:Read More »

CCER on Mornings with Ray Dunaway


On January 10th, Jeffrey Villar interviewed with Ray Dunaway to talk about our 2014 legislative agenda. Catch the clip from Mornings with Ray Dunaway here.

CCER Presents Recommendations to State Board of Education


On January 8th, Jeffrey Villar, executive director of CCER, made a presentation to the State Board of Education (SBOE). View the PowerPoint with recommendations to the SBOE here.