Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin May Destroy State's Public Education System With Charter Schools Scheme

Bevin was widely criticized for saying it is a “fact” that kids were “sexually assaulted” during a teacher sick out.

Photo Credit: Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press

Kentucky's Tea Party governor may destroy the entire public education system in the state, Courier Journal columnist Joseph Gerth warned on Wednesday.

"If the school board loses focus on our public schools, it could bring the entire constitutionally mandated public education system down in a heap," Gerth cautioned.

The column followed a chaotic week for public education in the bluegrass state.

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"In the past 48 hours, Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed seven new members to the Kentucky Board of Education," the Courier Journal reported. "The entire 11-member policy group has now been entirely handpicked by him."

The first order of business was to oust Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.

"Kentucky’s top education officer was ousted Tuesday and replaced by a charter schools advocate in a move that escalated tensions between the state’s Republican leaders and teachers who have been protesting for better funding," the Associate Press reported Wednesday. "Officially, Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt resigned on Tuesday. But in an impromptu conversation with reporters hours before the decision was announced, it was clear Pruitt did not wish to leave."

Pruitt was appointed in September 2015 by then-Governor Steve Beshear (D).

The commissioner's departure marks the latest attack on public education -- and public education teachers -- by Gov. Bevin.

"Kentucky teachers, infuriated by years of deep cuts to both school funding and public-employee health insurance, have organized two 'sickouts' thus far – in the process, driving the state's Trump-y governor, Matt Bevin, best known for imposing draconian work requirements for Medicaid recipients and decimating state universities, to completely lose his small mind," Rolling Stone explained.

Gov. Bevin was widely criticized for saying it is a "fact" that kids were "sexually assaulted" during a teacher sick out. Bevin tried to walk back his comments, finally apologizing