On March 14, 2018, lessons began early for both students and their parents. This week, parents, students and the Rowan County community saw democracy in action. Between 7:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., before any classes began, teachers and fellow staff members stood up for education, an education that is being threatened by our Governor and the legislative members of the General Assembly through the possible passage of Senate Bill I.
There is not a single job, not a single career that exists without a teacher. From lawyer to farmer, from mechanic to astronaut, a teacher was responsible for helping to guide a student toward his or her goals. Teachers are builders, creators, motivators. Teachers are the bedrock of our society. Every facet of our American life depends upon the passion, skill and drive of teachers.
Proposed changes in the pension system, Senate Bill I, which are currently being discussed and voted on by the General Assembly, threaten the very existence of public education here in Kentucky. The changes proposed by the legislature threaten Kentucky’s ability to attract and keep highly qualified teachers in the classroom. Our current and retired teachers have relied upon the promise of our current pension system, often accepting lower salaries in return for that promise. A promise made should be a promise kept.
Not only does Senate Bill I threaten public education, it also threatens Kentucky’s economy. Without the ability to maintain the continuity of a highly qualified teaching staff in every school, communities across Kentucky will find their ability to attract businesses and industries threatened. The changes proposed in Senate Bill I will do irrevocable harm to every institution, from school systems to factories, from universities to hospitals. No career will be left untouched if Senate Bill I is allowed to pass.
This week, the faculty and staff of Rowan County Schools have demonstrated how democracy works, but, more importantly, they have shown to the Rowan County community just how important the education of our students is and must continue to be.
It is vital that the Governor and the members of our state legislative bodies – the Kentucky Senate and the Kentucky House of Representatives – understand that when they invest in teachers, they are not only investing in the hundreds of thousands of people who have chosen education as their profession, they are investing in our students – the future of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.