Governor Brings Big Changes to the Board of Education

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Governor Brings Big Changes to the Board of Education

Calei Loy, Staff Writer

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Andy Beshear was sworn in as governor of Kentucky on Dec.13.

His campaign entailed some significant changes to Kentucky, and he has made it clear that he will be wasting no time in office.

One facet of his campaign was a large focus on education, something that many thought the previous incumbent, Matt Bevin, was lacking.

Bevin was criticized for cutting funding for numerous educational programs including technology funds in coal counties and funding for virtual learning and writing programs. 

The former governor also showed a lack of priority for teachers, cutting funding for the Teachers Professional Growth Fund and Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program.

“Governor Bevin had only one member on his last Board of Education that had any experience working in public schools,”  political science teacher Renata Kuchowicz said. “I agree that outside viewpoints are important; however, the board does need to have a good number of people who truly understand how school systems actually work.”

Beshear proved that he plans to tackle education reform in Kentucky with urgency by signing an executive order on his very first day in office to replace those on Kentucky’s Board of Education.

This was met with some speculation. Those on the former board sought an injunction that would block Beshear’s executive order; however, the judge ruled against the injunction, meaning that the executive order still went through.

The removal of the past board means that Beshear has appointed an all-new Board of Education.

The new board, appointed by Beshear, consists of David Karem, JoAnn Adams, Claire Batt, Holly Bloodworth, Mike Bowling, Alvis Johnson, Patrice McCrary, Cody Pauley Johnson, Sharon Porter Robinson, Lee Todd, and Lu Young.

This new roster is much preferred by those with a focus on education because of the higher qualifications that they hold.

“This Board of Education much better represents public education,” sophomore counselor Myra Tabb explained. “You have retired teachers, you have someone who’s the former superintendent of the year, you have lieutenant governor Calden, who is not a voting member, but she is on the committee. David Karem, who is the chair, has been on the Kentucky Board of Education for many years in the past, and he was on the board of education when the Kentucky Educational Reform Act was enacted in 1990, so he has great experience.”

This big change leaves many hopeful for the future of education in Kentucky.

“I hope having a governor that is extremely pro-education will help our state to become more effective in reaching all of the needs of our students and teachers,” Kuchowicz said.