More than 700 people as of 9 a.m. Tuesday had signed an online petition asking Gov. Matt Bevin to apologize for accusing charter school opponents of lying and questioning their motives during his testimony earlier this month before the state House Education Committee.
House Bill 520, legislation that will bring charter schools to Kentucky for the first time, was approved by both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly last week and is ready for Bevin to sign.
Dottie Miller, a retired Kenton County teacher and former president of the Kenton County chapter of the Kentucky Education Association, created the petition using the Change.org website, the Kentucky School Boards Association News Service reported.
“The teachers and the retired teachers of Kentucky demand an apology for your tirade against us, our professional organizations and legislators who stood up for public education,” the petition said. “Calling us liars and making unfounded accusations about our motives while testifying to the House Education Committee is beyond the limits of civility.”
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At a March 3 House Education Committee hearing on House Bill 520, Bevin criticized opponents of the bill and appeared to be criticizing the KEA, an educator’s group that opposed charter school legislation, without using the word “teachers.” Bevin referred to “unions.”
“The argument that this is somehow a threat to our public education system is a lie. It is not correct. It is a scare tactic. It is meant to preserve the status quo,” the governor said, according to the school board’s association news service.
“I’m personally disgusted by the fact that the people who oppose this so adamantly continue at every turn — in between texting — to be passionate about what? About power. About money. About the transfer of dollars. It’s not about the students to any of those who are opposing this bill. This is not a threat to anything except failure. It is a threat to those who have failed to deliver in certain school districts and in certain schools in particular. Those who think that they are beholden to the very unions that are trying to desperately to maintain power and are answering to those people who are trying to curry favor, that is not what this is about,” Bevin said.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an email from the Herald-Leader asking for a comment on the petition.