Associated Press

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HARTFORD, Conn. —A group of Connecticut business executives pushing for reforms in the state’s education system says attracting and retaining the highest-quality teachers should be top priorities, along with evaluations that favor skill over seniority.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform announced its legislative priorities Thursday, and will forward them to lawmakers for the upcoming General Assembly session.

The nonprofit group also wants the state to ensure more help for struggling students; pre-graduation testing to ensure students meet all academic goals and a phase-in process to fund preschool seats for all low-income children. It also wants teacher evaluations that include students’ progress as a factor in judging teachers’ skills.

First Niagara Bank has pledged $3 million to support the council’s education initiatives. Many are similar to reforms recommended by the former Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement.

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