Bevin clarifies apology during news conference praising new board of education appointees
During a news conference Tuesday morning, Gov. Matt Bevin said he expects the state board of education to do the right thing for Kentucky, but he wouldn't speculate about the future of Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- During a news conference Tuesday morning, Gov. Matt Bevin said he expects the state board of education to do the right thing for Kentucky, but he wouldn't speculate about the future of Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.
The Kentucky Board of Education meets Tuesday afternoon behind closed doors to discuss personnel matters, and that meeting could decide Pruitt's fate.
Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner resigned Monday and was among seven appointments the governor made to the state Board of Education.
Speculation his swirling that Heiner and the new board, which is now comprised of all Bevin appointees, will fire Pruitt. But Pruitt, who makes $240,000 a year, must be given a 90-day notice, if the board decides to terminate his contract without cause.
Bevin and Heiner will only say they are both frustrated with the state's failure to close the achievement gap and with the pace of education reform.
"I like him as a person, but again I'm concerned by - my two cents worth - I'm not happy to see 16,000 more kids falling below a level of proficiency than just two years ago," Bevin said.
Heiner says Kentucky has made absolutely "zero progress" in closing the education achievement gap, which was his number one priority. But he said he is excited about joining the Board of Education.
"I'm hoping that we can move faster in the state," Heiner said. "That's been my hope when I came here from the beginning."
Heiner said he resigned as Secretary of Workforce Development to focus on his business and his family. Secretary of Arts, Heritage and Tourism Don Parkinson is taking over his job on an interim basis.
Bevin also addressed his controversial comments about Friday's teacher protest and his subsequent apology. He admitted that he sometimes needs to be more sensitive in the way he speaks.
"When children are home alone, there is potential for things to go wrong. Clearly I did not say it well," said Bevin. He said there was no intent to focus on the fact that children were put at risk with actions by teachers, but it is a consequence of children being left home alone.
Gov. Bevin said he has eight children in school -- four in public and four in private.
"I have more children in public school than the average Kentuckian," Bevin said. And he added that he has family members who are teachers.
"The vast majority of teachers genuinely want what's best for the child," Bevin added. "They do care what's best for children. And the best way to help a child is to be with that child educating them."
Bevin said he has put more money in education than previous administrations and that he should have been "more sensitive" to his language when talking about teachers.
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