Stephen Pruitt undeserving of ousting as Kentucky Education Commissioner


Matt Bevin

Hannah Woosley

It all started with a newly appointed 12-member state Board of Education on Monday, April 16. Now, Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky Education Commissioner, no longer holds that title – or a job.

Gov. Matt Bevin decided to issue an executive order on Monday, April 16, to allow his seven new appointees to take position on the 12-member state Board of Education. He had previously named four others who currently still reside on the board, according to

The first debate the newly commissioned board held was over Pruitt’s job. Because Pruitt had been appointed by former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, the new board was eyeing his job critically.

The Kentucky Board of Education had no cause to fire Pruitt, so weaning him out was their only option. The way in which his resignation was turned in was unsurprising in Republican politics, and after a closed-door, four-hour long meeting, Pruitt felt out-numbered and knew the numbers were stacked against him. Then came a newly appointed Education Commissioner of a different party than Pruitt.

Pruitt handed in his resignation after the meeting, stating in a tweet that he chose to resign, “rather than prolong the process,” knowing what the board was attempting to do after immediately going into a debate about his job after their appointment.

Pruitt was hired as the Kentucky Education Commissioner back in 2015 and still had over a year left in this position. Wayne Lewis, chair of the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council, was named as interim Education Commissioner almost immediately after Pruitt’s resignation.

Now comes the part Kentuckians should dread – the possibility of charter schools sprouting up.

This is one of the main issues with the new Kentucky Board of Education ousting Pruitt, welcoming Lewis and an almost entire new board. Many of Bevin’s appointees have been openly critical about public schools in Kentucky, and as Lewis is on the Charter Schools Advisory Council, this will likely open debate about charter schools subsequently.

There are currently two uncertainties about charter schools in Kentucky: where funding for them will come from and how much money public schools will lose if a child attends a charter school instead, two things Kentuckians would not have to worry about if Pruitt was still in control.

If tax-payer funding is pulled from public schools as more children opt for charter schools, this will certainly damper public schooling in many ways, from education funding such as textbooks, to teacher pay, and divide the amount of money each school receives.

Kentuckians need to put our children, and their education, first, not their party. Pruitt was doing just that.

Pruitt’s most recent tweet was a reply to an image of him tweeted from Rich Pond Elementary in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to support him during this time. “I was in front of kids, where I always feel I belong and I was clearly excited. This is me, today and forever,” said Pruitt. This is an example of the type of leadership we need in Kentucky.