DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the author of this article do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, and attitudes of Cameron Mills Radio.
Generally, in a case of assault, charges can be filed, or restitution for damages is required. But what does Public Education do when it gets assaulted? Over the past few weeks, Kentucky’s Public Education has taken hit after hit. The assault has been swift and thorough. The final blow was the forced resignation of Commissioner Pruitt and the appointment of Wayne Lewis (who sits at the head of the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council). As a public education teacher, this situation is truly disheartening. It is hard not to feel defeated.
On Friday, April 13th, Governor Bevin made some erroneous accusations that correlated the teachers’ protesting and the harm of hundreds of thousands of school-aged children who were left alone. The idea that school districts canceling school for one day to show solidarity and to protest budget cuts for public education would lead to the sexual abuse and poisoning of children is mindboggling. After a massive backlash from both the community and his legislature, Bevin “apologized” to the teachers because he claimed that there was a misunderstanding. There was never a misunderstanding because the message was loud and clear: the gauntlet was thrown down in the war on public education.
Over the weekend, there was much speculation about a special session that the Kentucky Department of Education and Governor had called for on Tuesday, April 17th. Teachers across the state, who have united through social media, guessed that Commissioner Pruitt’s job was on the chopping block. Behind closed doors, the four-hour session brought the resignation of Pruitt and the appointment of Lewis as interim. Lewis is a vocal advocate for charter schools in Kentucky. He has never hidden his agenda and has even speculated that Kentucky will see its first charter schools as early as Fall 2019. Along with a complete Board of Education that was hand selected by Bevin (each of whom is pro-charter schools), the final blow connected and the public education’s assault was complete.
Unlike other assaults, there are no charges to file. There will be no restitution for damages. The insurance will not pay for the severe injuries. Kentucky’s public education will limp through the next years in limbo. It is difficult to be optimistic when it seems the cards are stacked against you. “The Battle of Bevin” will go down in the record books as Kentucky’s Public Education first defeat, but the war is not over.