Kentucky Governor to Teachers: “I will break you”
With a high disapproval rating, Governor Matt Bevins makes violent threats towards organized teachers
In the Spring, teachers in a number of states became fixtures at state legislatures as they protested and went on strike to call for a number of pro-teacher reforms. In Kentucky, teachers rallied to oppose changes to the state’s pension system that would have converted all pensions, with guaranteed payouts, too risky 401(k)’s.
While the teachers flooded Frankfort with protests, Governor Matt Bevin battled with the state teacher’s union including calling them selfish and short-sighted. He also accused them of having a “thug mentality” and claimed that the protests would lead to an increase in children being sexually abused in the state. Although the protests may have stopped, Bevins hasn’t. Recently at a Kentucky Association of County Officials meeting, Bevin’s told the crowd “Breaking the backs of the teachers union in this state as the controlling interest in Frankfort is going to be one of the best things that ever happened for Kentucky. They use teachers’ dues to undermine what’s best for this state so they can maintain power for a handful at the expense of the students and their parents.” He went on to say that the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) suffocates good teachers and is only interested in maintaining power for a handful of people.
“Once again, the governor’s comments show his disdain and lack of respect for educators in Kentucky,” said KEA President Stephanie Winkler said. “To attack and vow to ‘break the backs’ of teachers and their advocacy organization by a governor who was elected to serve all the people of Kentucky, is imprudent and irresponsible to the needs of the commonwealth’s educators, students, and the public school system.”
Bevin will be running for reelection in 2019. Thanks to remarks like the ones he has made about teachers, 55% of Kentucky voters disapprove of the work that he has done, making him the fourth most unpopular Governor in the country.