teachers

Liz Schlemmer

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet filed a notice of removal Thursday, seeking to move a lawsuit Attorney General Andy Beshear and the Jefferson County Teachers Association filed in state court to federal court.

The lawsuit sought to block subpoenas the Kentucky Labor Cabinet issued to 10 school districts to seek attendance records that could identify school employees who called in sick to protest during the last legislative session.

Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Department of Education has handed over records to the Labor Cabinet that could identify teachers who participated in a sickout at the state Capitol that closed Jefferson County Public Schools for six days this spring.

Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Fletcher confirmed the department received a subpoena from the Labor Cabinet Thursday demanding the records by the end of the day.

KDE had the attendance records in hand. In March, KDE itself had required 10 school districts, including JCPS, to send documents regarding the days schools closed due to the protests. At that time, Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis said the department would not directly punish teachers, but indicated in a press release that the Labor Cabinet could investigate the matter and seek to fine teachers up to $1,000.

Liz Schlemmer

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to block subpoenas issued by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration as part of an investigation into teacher sickouts.

The complaint Beshear filed Monday seeks a temporary injunction to prevent school districts from having to submit records to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet that might identify teachers who participated in recent sickouts at the statehouse. Labor Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson has said it is his office’s duty to investigate whether school employees broke a state law prohibiting public employees from striking. The Labor Cabinet could punish any violation of that law with a fine of up to $1,000. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is blaming the shooting of a Louisville child on last month’s teacher sickouts.

“While we had people pretending to be sick when they weren’t sick, and leaving kids unattended to, or in situations that they should not have been in, a girl was shot,” Bevin said in comments to the Louisville Rotary Club Thursday.

The 7-year-old girl was shot on March 12, a day when Jefferson County Public Schools were closed due to teacher protests.

Liz Schlemmer

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has subpoenaed Jefferson County Public Schools, in relation to teacher-led sickouts that forced the school district to close six days while educators protested at the state legislature.

A JCPS spokeswoman confirmed that district officials received the subpoena Wednesday afternoon, and the district later released a copy of the subpoena. The Labor Cabinet’s deputy secretary and communications staff did not respond to a request for information regarding the subpoena, which was first reported by Insider Louisville

Liz Schlemmer

On the final day of the legislative session, state senators confirmed Governor Matt Bevin’s nine appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education. The Senate confirmed eight of those appointments by a concurrence vote Thursday afternoon, then unexpectedly singled out the resolution to confirm the appointment of appointee Gary Houchens for a full debate.

“In Mr. Houchens in particular, we have someone who has publicly warred with our educators,” said Louisville Democratic Senator Morgan McGarvey. “His social media account,  his op-eds are numerous and clearly outline his version of education in Kentucky. I say ‘education’ because they don’t outline a vision for ‘public education.'”

Liz Schlemmer

The Kentucky Department of Education recommends school districts revise their leave policies to close a “loophole” that allows teachers to hold “an illegal work stoppage.”

The move comes in response to teachers in 10 counties staging a so-called “sickout” for a single day in February to protest an education bill in Frankfort. Bullitt County Public Schools closed for a total of 3 days, and Jefferson County Public Schools for a total of 6 days, as some teachers continued to call in sick during March to advocate at the Capitol.

Liz Schlemmer

State Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis is asking for the names of teachers who have called in sick to protest education bills at the legislature.

The Kentucky Department of Education has requested the attendance records of teachers in 10 school districts: Bath, Boyd, Bullitt, Carter, Fayette, Jefferson, Letcher, Madison, Marion and Oldham.

The Department is also asking for the names and dates school employees have called in sick, with documentation from a doctor’s office and information about each school district’s attendance policy. School districts must submit the information by the close of the business day on Monday, March 18.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will compete for seats in the state legislature this fall.

This year’s statehouse primary elections feature a handful of crowded contests for seats vacated by retiring legislators. And dozens of teachers are hoping to ride a wave of outrage into Frankfort after launching massive protests at the state Capitol this spring.

Travis Brenda has been teaching at Rockcastle County High School for the last 19 years. He lives on a farm in Cartersville in southern Garrard County. Brenda is a Republican but he said he’s disappointed in how the fully-Republican controlled legislature is doing business.


Kara Lofton, WVPB

When Oklahoma teacher Sally Salmons saw momentum building toward teacher protests in her state, she immediately reached out to family ties and educators in West Virginia. She said teacher walkouts in the Mountain State provided her and colleagues across the state with the courage they needed to take a stand.

“We looked at West Virginia and said, ‘Now’s the time to get on it.’ I think it gave us confidence to really, finally cross that line,” she said.