Archives for category: Kentucky

Kentucky’s outgoing Republican Governor Matt Bevin made clear that he wanted funding for charter schools, but he lost the recent election to Democrat Andy Beshear. The new governor made clear that one of his top priorities was supporting public schools.

However, the State Board of Education and the State Commissioner were appointed by Bevin, and they seem to be holding on until their terms expire.

The Bevin-appointed State Board met to announce its priorities for the 2020 legislative session, which begins in early January. Its list did not include funding for charter schools, which was one of Bevin’s demands. Bevin was a close ally of Betsy DeVos, who visited the state earlier this year to promote school choice.

Even though the board was appointed by Bevin, the members’ priorities show that they heard the voters’ message.

Kentucky Board of Education members unanimously approved a legislative agenda Wednesday that they may not be able to see through. 

Education officials plan to push for full-day kindergarten, reading interventions for the youngest learners and more flexibility for schools in Kentucky’s 2020 legislative session, according to documents made public Wednesday morning. 

And they’ll ask lawmakers to solidify Gov. Matt Bevin’s reorganization of an education board through executive order — the very power Gov.-elect Andy Beshear said he will use to disband the Board of Education.  

School choice initiatives, including funding for charter schools, are missing from the proposed list. Citing waning appetite for charters, Lewis said he only wanted to include legislation that had “some chance of passing.” 

It’s a shift toward the education priorities of Kentucky’s superintendents and its largest school district after more than a year of disconnect between educators and their leaders….

Beshear, who takes office in less than a week, vowed to replace the education boardon “day one.” The new board, he has suggested, would then oust Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis. 

Beshear ran on an education-fueled platform, and said his board replacements would value public education more than “a for-profit charter school company.”

It is possible a new board will elect to push for different education bills in 2020. 

Lewis’ contract allows the board to fire him without cause but requires a 90-day notice. He told reporters Tuesday night he would stay for those 90 days — which would last most of the legislative session. 

The 2020 legislative session begins on Jan. 7.

KDE’s legislative wish list for 2020 signals a slight shift from 2019’s agenda, which focused on school choice measures and increasing flexibility for districts….

Unlike last year, KDE does not specifically ask for a third grade retention law, a controversial measure that holds back third graders until they read at grade level. 

A retention law filed last session was ultimately gutted before failing to make it to a vote. 

Defeated Republican Governor Matt Bevin was a huge fan of charter schools. The legislature passed a charter law but never funded it. Bevin appointed a new state board of education, and they appointed Wayne Lewis as state commissioner. Lewis loves charters.

A few weeks ago, Bevin was defeated by Democrat Andy Beshear, who ran on a strong pro-public education program. He chose an educator as his Lieutenant Governor. He said he would pick a new state board on day one and a new state commissioner on day two. Beshear made clear that  public education was a major priority for his administration.

Beshear has said he and Lt. Gov.-elect Jacqueline Coleman, an educator, will have no higher priority than Kentucky’s public education system and its teachers. Teacher Allison Slone, founder of a popular Facebook page called Kentucky Teachers in the Know, said she and her colleagues “are ready to move on and up from the negativity, lack of trust, and partisan politics” that they experienced under Bevin.

Not so fast, said Wayne Lewis. Beshear can’t replace the board members until their terms expire in 2020 and 2022. And Lewis has no plans to leave until the board changes.

Stay tuned.

Newly elected Governor Andy Beshear has invited teachers to lead his inaugural parade! 

Governor-elect Beshear recognizes that angry teachers powered his upset election over the loser, Matt Bevin, who showered contempt on teachers. And paid for it.

A group of Kentucky teachers will serve as the grand marshals for the inauguration parade. It’s set for Dec. 10 in Frankfort.

“In my first inauguration announcement, I want to show my appreciation for our public educators, who work tirelessly, every day to improve the lives of our children and lift up our communities, and that is why I am naming them inauguration parade grand marshals,” Beshear said Wednesday.

The Kentucky Education Association’s president called the appointment an honor and tribute to educators.

“It signals Gov.-elect Beshear’s and Lt. Gov.-elect Coleman’s clear commitment to public education and a renewed respect for Kentucky’s educators, who faced withering attacks from the previous administration,” said KEA President Eddie Campbell.

The Kentucky governor’s race is over at last.

Matt Bevin conceded defeat.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday conceded to Attorney General Andy Beshear after a recanvass of votes confirmed Mr. Beshear’s victory in last week’s governor’s election.

“We’re going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people,” Mr. Bevin, a Republican, said in a brief speech from a podium in front of the governor’s office.

Mr. Bevin, who had raised unspecified allegations of voter fraud and left open the option of challenging the results, instead acknowledged the victory of Mr. Beshear, a Democrat and the son of a two-time Democratic governor.

Mr. Beshear’s margin of victory remained unchanged after the recanvassing, according to the secretary of state: 5,136 votes out of more than 1.4 million cast.

Thank you, teachers of Kentucky! You remembered in November, as you promised.

Trump won the state by 30 points in 2016. Bevin’s attack on teachers and on their pensions ended in his defeat.

This story in the Washington Post makes clear that Republican Governor Matt Bevin list because of his mean-spirited attacks on teachers, who are respected members of their communities. It was no accident that Bevin’s Democratic opponent Andy Beshear selected a teacher as his running mate.

When they marched on the statehouse in Frankfort, Ky., in the midst of a spring snowstorm and a political firestorm last year, teachers warned the governor: “We’ll remember in November.”

Nearly 20 months later, they appeared to have delivered on that promise, helping Democrat Andy Beshear receive about 5,100 more votes than Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor’s race. It is a state President Trump carried by 30 points in 2016.

Beshear’s apparent victory comes amid a national teacher uprising in which educators have staged walkouts in more than a dozen states — and some of the nation’s largest school systems — including conservative states like Kentucky.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Beshear gave credit to teachers.

“Your courage to stand up and fight against all of the bullying and name-calling helped galvanize our entire state,” said Beshear, who chose a teacher as his running mate. “To our educators, this is your victory.”

As attorney general, Beshear sued Bevin over his attempt to overhaul the teacher pension plan and prevailed. When Bevin sought educators’ records to investigate them for missing school to attend walkouts, Beshear sued to block the subpoena.

Educators in Kentucky — Republicans and Democrats — harnessed the momentum of those walkouts to try to propel Beshear to the governor’s office, with teacher volunteers proving key to the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort, said David Turner, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.

Teachers had walked out of their classrooms over a middle-of-the-night amendment the governor pushed through to alter teacher pensions. Teachers ultimately prevailed, but not before Bevin lashed out, calling them “thuggish.” He suggested without evidence that children were being sexually assaulted and were using drugs while teachers protested, and later blamed the shooting of a 7-year-old girl on the walkout.

We used Matt Bevin’s words against him,” Turner said. His comments “really incensed not just teachers, but the folks who are friends of families of the teachers, the neighbors of teachers…”

Ashlee Kinney, a special-education teacher at West Jessamine High in Nicholasville, Ky., is a lifelong Republican who had never voted for a Democrat for governor before Tuesday. A devout Christian, she is antiabortion, a position that puts her at odds with Beshear. But she said she worried more about the damage Bevin could do to schools than she did about how much Beshear could advance abortion rights.

Beshear, she said, is “a Kentucky boy and I feel like everywhere he goes he’s very polite and he’s very kind.”

“I feel like he cares for the poor and the less fortunate, and in my job, those are the kids I am teaching,” Kinney said.

 

Candidates for Public office endorsed by NPE Action won big. 

We didn’t give them money.

We gave them our valued Seal of Approval, demonstrating that they are the real deal, genuine supporters of public schools.

We also celebrate the apparent victory in Kentucky of Andy Bashear and the apparent defeat of Governor Matt Bevin, who mistreated teachers and sought Betsy DeVos’s approval. Kentucky has a charter law but no funding for charters.

And we congratulate the brave Democrats in Virginia, who won control of the legislature.

And salutations to the new school board members who won control of the Denver school board. Aloha   to Senator MIchael Bennett and other pseudo reformers.

November 5 was a great day for public schools and teachers!

Democrat Andy Beshear, Attorney General of Kentucky, defeated hard-right Republican Governor Matt Bevin!

Hooray!

Bevin made war on public schools and teachers and threatened teachers’ pensions. He allied himself with Trump and Betsy DeVos. Bevin threatened to cut healthcare insurance. Teachers in Kentucky walked out and demonstrated at the state capitol to oppose Benin’s efforts to destroy their pension rights.

Trump visited Kentucky to help Bevin.

Bevin wanted to make the election a referendum on Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He wanted to distract voters from his agenda to privatize schools and shred the social safety net..

Bevin lost. He hasn’t conceded yet. But he lost.

Here is local news.

“After a hard-fought race marked by angry rhetoric about teachers and the intervention of national politics, Kentucky voters finally got the chance to make their decision at the ballot box.

“In the end, Attorney General Andy Beshear was able to emerge victorious in a gubernatorial race being watched as much for what it says next year’s national elections as it does about the direction of the commonwealth.

“Both men were with supporters in Louisville on Tuesday night watching as the results came in.

“The Democrats — Beshear and his running mate, Jacqueline Coleman — placed much of their focus on Kentucky’s educators and their anger over moves by the Bevin administration to make changes to their pensions.”I believe the more Kentuckians that come out, the better our chances are, because people are hungry for a governor that listens more than he talks and solves more problems than he creates,” Beshear said earlier Tuesday.

”Bevin, a Republican who has polled consistently as among the least popular governors in the nation, highlighted his anti-abortion rights agenda and close ties with President Donald Trump. He switched his lieutenant governor running mate this time out to Ralph Alvardo.”

Lesson in Kentucky: Don’t run against public schools!

PS: The Associated Press says the race is too close to call. CNN has declared Beshear the winner.
With 100% of the vote counted, Beshear is ahead by about 4,500 votes.

From the New York Times:

Next update in :02
Latest: The Associated Press says the race is too close to call.2m ago
Candidate Party Votes Pct.
Andy Beshear Democrat 711,955 49.2%
Matt Bevin* Republican 707,297 48.9
John Hicks Libertarian 28,475 2.0

1,447,727 votes, 100% reporting (3,659 of 3,659 precincts)

* Incumbent

The governor’s race in Kentucky has been cast as a showdown between an unpopular governor and an unpopular party. The Republican incumbent, Matt Bevin, has focused his campaign on his alignment with President Trump and his opposition to impeachment, with the president holding a rally on Monday in Lexington to reciprocate the support. The Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, the state’s attorney general, has been buoyed by the governor’s diminished popularity — Mr. Bevin is among the least popular governors in the country. 

 

 

Gay Adelmann, the mother of a recent graduate of the Jefferson County Public Schools, writes here to explain why voters in Kentucky should get rid of Matt Bevin and elect Andy Beshear as Governor.

She writes:

“During Kentucky’s past two legislative sessions, Gov. Matt Bevin lashed out at the record numbers of teachers descending upon Frankfort. But teachers are not the only ones who have been showing up in opposition to his attacks on public education. Many of us are also parents, retired teachers, students, business and community leaders, allied laborers and taxpayers. Our teachers are also taxpayers and often parents, after all. 

“We aren’t just standing up for teachers’ pay or pensions, either. We are also pushing back on Bevin’s draconian education policies, inspired by wealthy elites like the Koch Brothers and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. His solutions involve implementing the American Legislative Exchange Council’s carefully orchestrated schemes to underfund and undermine Kentucky’s public schools, turn our “persistently low-achieving” schools over to outside operators and drastically cut teacher compensation and benefits. This will not only destroy our public schools, it will further displace students (especially our “gap” students), and disenfranchise families across this commonwealth. Unfortunately, this austerity experiment comes at the expense of our community’s most vulnerable children and on Jefferson County taxpayers’ dime…

“Shortly after the 2015 election, Bevin declared, “We’re going to bring charter schools to Kentucky, and we’re going to start in west Louisville.” As a parent of a student in a “low-performing” West End school, this statement set off alarm bells for me. You see, my son’s school has long been the target of charter school wannabes. The entire time my son was in the aviation magnet at The Academy @ Shawnee, our building leaders and teachers lived under Jefferson County Public Schools’ former superintendent’s constant threat of “state takeover.” This often resulted in one failed change-for-the-sake-of-change maneuver after another, further making Shawnee a sitting duck for charter school sharpshooters…

”As a parent and taxpayer, I’m asking Jefferson County voters to stand with other public school parents, teachers and taxpayers and say “no” to four more years of out-of-touch, destructive education policy from the Bevin administration. Vote for Andy Beshear on Nov. 5.”

 

 

 

 

Rev. Sharon Felton, coordinator of Pastors for Kentucky Children, warns parents and other members of the public not to be fooled by the rhetoric. Charters, vouchers, and tax credits are not good for children, and they drain resources from the public schools that educate most children.

She writes:

Educating our children is the most important thing we do in the commonwealth. Educating all of our children no matter their family’s economic status, their address, the color of their skin, is so critical to our society and our future that our constitution requires it!

Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution states, “The General Assembly shall, by appropriate legislation, provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the State.”

People are pouring money and rhetoric into our state to convince us all that privatization, school choice, scholarship tax credits (vouchers), and charter schools are the answer to all our public school issues. What they are NOT telling us is that these programs often tend to harm students, public schools, families and our communities…

It is time we tell the privatizers no, once and for all. Our children are not commodities, available for the wealthy and corporations to profit…

Every time some high-dollar lobby group creates some new scheme to take money out of public schools, scholarship tax credits being the latest example, we take money away from the 648,369 children in public schools and make the job that much harder. We do not need to fund more than one educational system.

We do not need to give wealthy people tax breaks for donating to the private school of their choice. Instead, imagine the return if we invested everything we could into the great school system we already have going. Imagine how all our students would flourish if we provided for their teachers.

Imagine the future of our commonwealth with a fully funded public school system where teachers were paid what they deserve and had the resources to do their jobs and our children were afforded the highest quality education in the country. We will make this a reality when we choose to invest in our children and their public schools.

Join Pastors for Kentucky Children as we advocate for all of Kentucky’s children and our public schools.

Peter Greene notes that Kentucky passed a charter law but hashttp://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2019/10/ky-pushing-old-charter-myths-in-new.html so far wisely refused to fund them. Along comes a local marketing consultant to explain why charters are a great idea. Greene explains why charters are a very bad idea indeed.

The arguments for charters are bogus, he shows.

The marketing consultant says, why not give charters a chance. Greene responds that we have 30 years of experience with charters:

Finally: some public schools stink.

So why not give parents a choice. I would say because parents don’t want a choice as much as they want a non-stinky school. Vissing cites a local school that came up low on Kentucky’s ridiculous 5 star school rating program. Those parents would like to send children to a good school. Why, I wonder for the gazillionth time, wouldn’t we try to make the school not suck? The old argument is that students can’t wait, that it takes too long to change a school, yet somehow we’re proposing that a school can be go from nonexistent to awesome in the same short time.

Bonus round: charter schools are not public.

Kentucky charter advocates have gotten the memo to call charter schools “public charters schools.” They are not. Public schools are owned by the public, operated by elected representatives of the public, are completely transparent to the public, and serve all of the public.

Kentuckians, do not be snookered by these mythical myths and the charter advocates who push them. You’re a fresh market; at a minimum, you deserve a fresh sales pitch.