FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)- Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie J. Winkler has released a statement regarding the sickouts called by teachers in several counties.
Though not condoning the sickouts, which they explicitly state they did not call, KEA hoped to explain why teachers were still wary.
For decades, KEA has encouraged organized action and legislative engagement among all educators, regardless of their membership status in the Association. During the 2018 legislative session, we repeatedly organized collective action to make sure educators were seen and heard by the legislature and the administration on issues that matter to all public education stakeholders. KEA did not call for the sickouts that happened yesterday and today, but we are heartened by the spontaneous activism of individual educators. Clearly, educators learned the lessons from last spring and understand the power of uniting and advocating for their students and for their profession.
Last session, citizens across the Commonwealth witnessed laws that were overtly harmful to public education being passed in underhanded and unprincipled ways. Although we fought that battle and ultimately won, it was unnecessary and divisive. Educators remain wary of the legislative process and the motives of the legislative leaders who led the General Assembly down a dark road last session.
Educators want to educate. But clearly, many believe they must make a choice between staying in their classrooms and advocating from afar or showing up in person to be seen and heard. When funding for updated textbooks, continuing education for teachers, and learning and working conditions for students and public school employees has been cut or is threatened, educators have determined we will continue to fight for ourselves and for the students in our classrooms.
Parents and communities across the Commonwealth continue to express their support, knowing that educators are making a difficult choice that really should not be necessary. Every educator who has taken a stand for public education should be credited for their commitment and congratulated for their courage.
Governor Matt Bevin responded to the callouts briefly on his Twitter.
Tomorrow is a school day in Kentucky…
School children should be in school…
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) March 7, 2019