Monday, 10 December, 2018

Kentucky teachers protest pension overhaul

Kentucky governor 'guarantees' children sexually assaulted, poisoned due to school closures Kentucky Governor Blames Teacher Protest For Inevitable Assault Of Children Left Home Alone
| 15 April, 2018, 01:28

"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".

On Friday, just hours after protesting teachers flooded Kentucky's capitol building to rally against a pension reform plan and call for increased school funding, the state's Republican governor, Matt Bevin, suggested school closures caused by the striking educators were endangering children.

Organizers say there is still a lot of uncertainty and want legislators to know they're in Frankfort to support and preserve funding for public education.

Teachers unions slammed the comments as incredibly offensive.

I want to be in my classroom instructing future citizens, but I'm afraid that spending at the state level is getting worse and worse and we need those dollars for a 21st century education, " said Stephanie Ikanovic, who has been a teacher for 21 years. They said the tax increase disproportionately harms the poor while benefiting the wealthy. "Is that what he thinks happens to Kentucky kids at night or on weekends?"

Both chambers of the legislature need to override the governor's vetoes or pass new budget and tax bills in order to avoid Bevin calling a special legislative session in the coming months. "Indeed, what teachers are doing through their actions is acting as a human shield for their students", added Weingarten. "I don't agree with these comments & I find them repulsive".

"With that reasoning we would never have any vacation or breaks in school, and who knows what would happen in the summer", he said.

John Chilton, Bevin's budget director, said he understands lawmakers have new bills to raise revenue and govern spending and could introduce them soon.

"Sexual assault is not something to joke about", he told BuzzFeed News on Saturday.


Protesters overwhelmed Frankfort this past week, crowding the state capital and chanting "A pension is a promise", in response to a surprise bill reworking teachers' pensions.

Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, said Bevin's remarks were insulting to teachers.

The GOP governor said he was "offended" that people "so cavalierly disregarded what's truly best for our children".

Teachers and lawmakers both made it clear that even though the budget and tax reform plans aren't where they'd like to see them, but they would rather go forward with what the current bills propose. On April 2, thousands protested at the state Capitol in Frankfort.

A number of districts closed schools on Friday, including Jefferson County Public Schools and Fayette County Public Schools.

Teachers got the blame, as Bevin said some single parents can not afford childcare and can not afford to take time off work to watch their children.

A spokesman for the Kentucky Education Association declined to comment.

When asked by reporters what he thought of Friday's teachers protest, Bevin described it with disdain.

He criticized protestors for "hanging out", "taking the day off", smoking, and for removing their shoes (the high temperature Friday in Frankfurt was 82 degrees).

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