“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” the Kentucky governor said on Friday following the day-long, teacher-led protests. “I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were left alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.” He added: “Children were harmed – some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time – because they were vulnerable and left alone.”
What an idiot.
Meanwhile, Kentucky lawmakers voted on Friday to override the Republican governor’s veto of a two-year state budget that increases public education spending with the help of a more than $480 million tax increase.
The votes came as thousands of teachers rallied at the Capitol, forcing more than 30 school districts to close as the state continued the chorus of teacher protests across the country.
Kentucky teachers have not asked for a raise. They are instead focused on education funding and a battle over their pensions.
There are many in the state that did not support an override of the Governor’s veto. There are concerns that the unfunded pension liability will remain and that the tax increase disproportionately harms the poor while benefiting the wealthy.
They wanted the vetoes to stand, which would have forced the governor to call a special session of the State Legislature to pass a new budget.
Randy Wieck of the Kentucky Teacher Retirement Legal Fund (TRELF) posted on Facebook, “Let Governor Bevin’s vetoes stand, breaking with the advice of the Kentucky teachers union. Oppose the override. Let’s fight for the best, not third best.”
Wieck has been fighting a legal battle against Kentucky pension underfunding for years.
Only in the last few weeks has the Kentucky Eduction Association also file suit. They have stood silently for years as Kentucky pension went without.
Kentucky is part of a wave of red state teacher revolts which started in West Virginia and have since spread to Oklahoma, Arizona as well as Kentucky.
Oklahoma teachers returning to school today after two weeks of massive walkouts and rallies at the state Capitol.
In a statement over the weekend, Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, a local union affiliate, said: “Oklahoma City teachers will be walking into schools Monday with our heads held high, proud of the gains we accomplished for students, schools and educators. Monday also marks the start of our ‘Remember in November’ fight to elect pro-public education legislators. We will evaluate the record of the 748 candidates who just filed for state legislative seats and endorse the ones who support what children, schools and families need to succeed. … We are committed to turning the Legislature into a body of lawmakers who no longer will shortchange our students’ future.”
As in other red right-to-work states facing teacher revolts, Oklahoma has seen traditional teacher union leadership – frequently criticized by rank and file teachers as weak, disorganized and ineffective – pushed aside by new, young and militant teachers who have simply had enough.