I’m referring to the Governor’s strong arm tactics to push a qualified educator out of his job in order to get his own man in.
Gov. Bevin was within his rights to name an all new state education commission board—which he did.
The new board was within its right (its only duty apparently) to push out (fired is a better word) the present commissioner (who had received a glowing report for his work from the old board just last fall) and install an “interim” commissioner while seeking a full-time head.
There are real problems with this entirely “legal” action, which is why it is not “right”.
1—it is a return to the brute force power politics of an age many of us hoped was past.
2---were I a betting man I would now bet , 99 & 44/100%, the new commissioner will be a Kentuckian. Why? NO smart, qualified out-of-stater would accept the job...knowing no matter how well he/she did, they could be fired on a political whim of one man. And also the guv wants his own man/woman in the job. The odds are the best person will NOT be selected...at a time when Kentucky had been receiving national praise for some of our KERA-reforms, and at a time when we are dealing with new problems, and need the best possible person at the helm—whether a Kentuckian or not.
This year’s stupid action will set Kentucky back for years.
3—In an excellent editorial last Sunday, the Herald-Leader pointed out several laws were broken in selecting the new interim head. While too late to save Dr. Pruitt, these actions should be challenged in court.
4---This was one more example of the guv poking teachers in the eye, needlessly.
5—News reports indicate this was all planned, for some time, as a means to get Charter Schools implemented here, whether the tax-paying public wanted them or not.
6—Neither 4 nor 5 are good politics for any party here.
It’s a good idea, on multi-member commissions, to have overlapping terms. (This has been true for years on major groups such as the UK board of trustees.) The legislature should quickly move to give this commission a better arrangement for such terms, perhaps by setting up a 3 or 4 year period for such terms, instead of 2 groups, so no one governor can pull what Bevin legally did; or at least making sure the governor has popular support over two elections.
All of this should be remembered in November by all voters, not just the teachers and their friends.
I'm just sayin'...