Rather than trying to comprehend teachers’ concern over their retirement fund, Gov. Matt Bevin used mean-spirited language reproaching teachers as self-interested, lacking a sense of responsibility for their students and intent on playing the system by hoarding unused sick days.
His angry words mask an unwillingness to examine the realities of a career in teaching, which is not glamorous, does not hold the promise of wealth, rarely garners respect and demands hours of unseen, uncompensated time. More worrisome, his words also reveal a need to name an enemy to fight rather than a serious desire to solve a problem.
One of the most important things a leader can provide is language — words draw us together, inspire us and lead us to solutions. Following the example of the current president, our governor chooses to use words to divide, to degrade and to bully. On the national level, such behavior has not led to resolution of our health care problems. On the state level, similar behavior will not lead to resolution of our pension problems.