Kentucky’s Republican Governor Matt Bevin took to talk radio this week to, yet again, renew his attacks on Kentucky’s public school teachers, first attacking their union:
Gov. Matt Bevin blamed the Kentucky Education Association for obscuring the public debate of the pension crisis during interviews on talk radio Monday morning.
“It’s not been made clear because the KEA foments discord. They want so badly for people to think somehow we’re the problem. We’re the only ones funding this pension system. But the KEA is a dying organization. They’re about power. They’re about control. They’re about using their membership dues for their own self-interest.”
Then, he took aim at the teachers themselves by criticizing their protests and social media use:
“It’s wonderful for us to teach our children not to bully. But when I see some of the very same people doing the teaching on social media bullying other people, and I see them with signs and yelling with foul nasty language, yelling and picketing other people. Is that the example we want to send to our young people?”
Teachers have been protesting in Kentucky and went on strike in the Spring because Matt Bevin, the Republican Governor, tried to pass a plan to cut teacher pensions and veto education funding that was passed by the State’s legislature. The pension “reform” was passed, but the legislature listened to the striking teachers and overrode the Governor’s veto of education spending:
As Kentucky teachers declare victory after the Republican-dominated legislature overrode vetoes from the state’s GOP governor of a spending plan that included new money for education, the question going forward is whether teachers will be able to sustain their momentum into the fall elections when Republicans will try to defend their super majority.
This prompted Matt Bevin at the time, who seems to genuinely be a horrible person, to level a disgusting accusation at the striking teachers:
“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,” Bevin said, according to a video posted to Twitter by a reporter for WDRB-TV. “I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them. I’m offended by the idea that people so cavalierly and so flippantly disregarded what’s truly best for children.”
This was not the first time Matt Bevin had leveled an insult at Kentucky’s teachers:
Hundreds of teachers and educators flocked to Frankfort to protest the pension reform bill, particularly an unpopular provision — a reduction of the annual cost-of-living increase in benefits of retired teachers from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent.
“It’s about just straight up wanting more than your fair share,” Bevin said. “This is a group of people just throwing a temper tantrum.”
Nor, would it be the last time he insulted teachers:
Gov. Matt Bevin (R) renewed his feud with Kentucky teachers during an interview that aired Friday, saying those who protested his efforts to overhaul the state’s pension system were confused and misinformed.
“The bottom line is they didn’t know and when folks asked them why, many of them didn’t know why they were there, they were there because the KEA [Kentucky Education Association] told them to be there,” Bevin told co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”
Bevin blamed union leaders, claiming they “mislead” and “misrepresented” facts to the public.
Matt Bevin is renewing his attacks on teachers because the State Supreme Court is currently deciding on whether the law Bevin passed to cut teacher pensions was constitutional. At issue was the unbelievably duplicitous way in which he rammed the law through the legislature, changing a bill that was supposed to be about sewage, while the bill was in committee:
The Kentucky Supreme Court will now decide the constitutionality of public pension legislation after hearing oral arguments on Thursday.
Senate Bill 151 was originally an 11-page piece of legislation dealing with sewage. It passed the Senate in that form and had two reading in the House, but in the closing days of the 2018 General Assembly, a House committee substitute was presented, which contained most of the provisions of SB 1, the original pension reform bill which had stalled in the Senate.
The changes to SB 151 were adopted by the House committee, had a third reading in the House with final passage in that chamber, and the House changes were approved by the Senate, in a matter of just a few hours.
It is worth noting that Kentucky teachers were not in any way confused about the issue at hand. Kentucky teachers need their pensions. It is all they have, because Kentucky teachers are not eligible for social security:
Worse, unlike most states and all private-sector workers, Kentucky’s teachers aren’t enrolled in Social Security. They don’t have access to the nationally portable, progressive retirement benefit which all other workers might take for granted. Without Social Security as a baseline of benefits, Kentucky teachers are even more exposed to the poorly structured, back-loaded state pension plan.
Matt Bevin, the Republican Governor of Kentucky, seems to be doing all he can to insult and attack teachers, who just want decent school funding and a decent retirement, and who are not eligible for social security. The people of Kentucky will need to decide who they value more: teachers, or a carpetbagging Governor who has no loyalty to Kentucky. Bevin’s term is up in 2019, but the people of Kentucky can start deciding as early as this November, when several GOP allies of the Governor in the State legislature who helped Matt Bevin with his duplicitous scheme to cut teacher pensions, are up for re-election.