Legislators knew teachers wouldn’t approve; they did it anyway


Matt Bevin

By the Editorial Board

Earlier this week, the Kentucky legislators passed a bill that was formerly addressing sewer system regulations but ended up taking away teachers’ pensions.

The clause in Senate Bill 151 in the Kentucky state legislature will replace the traditional pension system with a hybrid cash balance plan for teachers hired after January 1, 2019, and the age for retirement was raised to 65.

Since the bill was passed, many opposed to the passage of the bill have voiced their disdain. Public schools in various counties including Fayette County Schools closed due to teachers not attending in protest. Teachers have also been vigorously protesting at the capitol, attempting to have their voices heard.

Now, the shady nature of this bill is a tattletail sign that the Republican legislators knew that the public and especially teachers would not approve of the bill, or else they wouldn’t have introduced it at the last minute, giving the public no time to read it before it passed.

This is a major problem. Not only does this show a striking problem in the way our political system works, but it also very clearly reflects on the character of the people that we have chosen to represent us in our state government.

Whether a bill is reasonable or outrageous, it holds fairly true that our state representatives should not intentionally work the system to exclude the public from law making decisions.

To make it even worse, this bill is completely outrageous.

If anything, our teachers are already underfunded enough. Instead, Matt Bevin and our lawmakers would like to take away quality retirement plans for the men and women that educate our future citizens.

Kentucky’s education system is also already bad enough sitting at the 34th state in education, which is not even in the top 50 percent and that is in comparison to other U.S. states, a country that is only 18th in the world in education.

Education is integral to our country. We should be putting funding into education reforms instead of nickel and diming the system that makes our children into informed citizens.

Matt Bevin has shown his animosity for teachers earlier this month. Gov. Bevin was quoted saying that teachers are “selfish and short-sighted” for protesting the proposed pension bill.

Kentucky Attorney General, Andy Beshear, announced his intention to file a lawsuit against SB 151. His announcement came in the form of a tweet early Friday in which he said: “Last night the House and Senate violated the inviolable contract and broke their word – but I am going to keep mine. I will file suit to stop SB 151.”

Hopefully with strong public reaction to the bill, our legislators will realize how integral teachers really are to our system.

Hopefully, they will realize that education is the way in which we grow as a society, as a nation and as a planet. It’s the only way that we will see a new world full of innovation and scientific discovery. It’s the only way to have a healthy and thriving democracy, as democracy hinges on having an informed population.

Anyone affected by this bill should speak out against it in anyway possible. We need to show our legislators that we are dissatisfied with what they have done and that this bill needs to be repealed.