Andy Beshear on Education



It's time to pass universal pre-K for all our 4-year-olds

Our educators are difference-makers every day. Let's show them that we appreciate what they do by funding an 11% raise for every public school employee. See, we have fallen behind--Kentucky ranks 44th in starting teacher pay and 40th in average teacher pay. That is unacceptable, and it is hard to understand why we have not been able to come together and get this done for our educators, especially when our neighbors are figuring it out.

As for our youngest learners, it's time to pass universal pre-K for all our 4-year-olds. We are rightfully concerned about learning loss. So, we should address it where it begins. In the last academic year, only 46% of kindergartners were considered kindergarten-ready. Instituting universal pre-K the right way means investing in both pre-K and our child-care providers.

Source: 2024 State of the State Address to the Kentucky legislature , Jan 3, 2024

5% pay raise to address public school teacher shortage

[I'm introducing the] Education First Plan, which begins with a 5% pay raise for every public school educator. Passage of this bill is both vital and necessary to address Kentucky's shortage of nearly 11,000 public school teachers. Addressing our teacher shortage absolutely requires a pay raise. Just over the last year, Kentucky dropped from 42nd to 44th in teacher pay. We must act. Failure to do so harms our children and undermines public education.
Source: 2023 State of the State Address to the Kentucky legislature , Jan 4, 2023

$1000 salary boost for all school workers

My budget calls for a $1,000 salary increase for every teacher, bus driver, cafeteria worker and other hardworking school employee in Kentucky. I am also providing support for preschool programs to help children most in need get started early on a path to success and opportunity. We are restoring a teacher loan forgiveness program and continuing to fund additional, full-time, school-based mental health services.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Kentucky legislature , Jan 7, 2021

$100 million to repair crumbling public schools

Too many of Kentucky's schools are crumbling and in dire need of repair. Some date as far back as the 1930s. So my budget calls for $100 million in additional one-time money to help rebuild and repair Kentucky's schools. This will improve the experience of students, educators and staff; it will enhance the surrounding communities. It will also create thousands of construction jobs and unleash a wave of positive economic activity across Kentucky.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Kentucky legislature , Jan 7, 2021

Waive GED testing fee for those who can't afford it

The Lt Governor and I announced that we would waive the GED testing fee for anyone who couldn't afford it. Already, we are seeing major response from those that realize a high school degree or GED can change their life and the next generations of their family.
Source: 2020 Kentucky State of the State address , Jan 14, 2020

Teachers deserve a living wage, teacher shortage is a threat

Teachers deserve a raise. We face a teacher shortage that threatens the education of our children. This body has spoken to the need of more engineers and more nurses in this state. But how can that happen if we lack full-time science and math teachers. We've figured out how to give tax incentives to corporations--so I know we can figure out how to pay a living wage to the men and women who get up at the crack of dawn every morning so our Kentucky children have every opportunity.
Source: 2020 Kentucky State of the State address , Jan 14, 2020

End historic cuts to universities, community colleges

A commitment to breaking cycles of poverty must also include higher education. In this state, we need more of every option. More graduates with a four-year college degree and more workers with technical degrees and certifications for skilled trades. To do that, we must end our historic cuts to our universities and community colleges.
Source: 2020 Kentucky State of the State address , Jan 14, 2020

Committed to a world-class public education

As a proud product of Kentucky's public schools, Andy knows that a quality education and talented, invested teachers can put Kentucky's children, and our economy, on the road to success. He is committed to public education and will ensure our schools provide a world class education for each Kentucky child, and a guaranteed, solid retirement for our teachers.
Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AndyBeshear.com , Dec 31, 2018

Won lawsuit to improve teacher retirement pensions

The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously struck down the pension reform law, known as Senate Bill 151, passed by the 2018 General Assembly. Teachers stormed the Capitol and protested in response to the surprise hits to their pensions.

Gov. Bevin held a press conference to discuss the ruling, saying that he is concerned that this will accumulate more and more debt. "The greatest financial threat to the commonwealth has now been made worse by Andy Beshear's self-serving, political lawsuit, and it places the retirement security of tens of thousands of our teachers and public employees at greater risk of failure and further credit downgrades."

Attorney General Beshear has criticized Bevin's pension fix. Beshear said the court ruling was a "landmark win."

Bevin wasn't having it: "This is how they view this, it is through a political prism," Bevin said. "That is the absolute wrong way to look at this. I don't give a rip about the consequences politically at this point."

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal on Kentucky voting records: SB151 , Dec 14, 2018

Don't change teacher pensions to 401(k)-style plan

The Kentucky Supreme Court's ruling against the controversial pension reform bill handed a decisive victory to Andy Beshear, at the expense of Gov. Matt Bevin, who pushed for the law.

Beshear has made fighting the pension law his main priority and has frequently advocated against it as he challenges Bevin for the governor's seat in 2019. Highlights from Beshear's press conference:

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal on 2019 Kentucky governor race , Dec 14, 2018

Only legislature can implement charters, not Governor

On June 2, 2017, Gov. Bevin signed an executive order that made modifications to several of the state's education-related boards. The order modified the structure and membership of three existing state educational boards, abolished five more boards and reestablished them under new guidelines, and created a new Charter Schools Advisory Council. In a press release announcing the order, Bevin cited the need to enforce Senate Bill 1, which had revised the state's educational standards, and House Bill 520, which implemented a charter school system.

On June 16, 2017, the Attorney General Beshear filed a lawsuit, arguing that the executive orders exceeded the governor's authority. The court ruled that a part of Bevin's executive order related to the Education Professional Standards board was unconstitutional, since it required teachers to appeal disciplinary decisions to the state board of education instead of the state court system [and the rest were all legal].

Source: Ballotpedia on 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race , Nov 30, 2017

Only legislature can cut state college budget, not Governor

Beshear filed a civil suit against Gov. Bevin on April 11, 2016, which claimed that budget cuts made by Bevin violated the Kentucky Constitution's distribution of powers article. Bevin had announced a 2% budget cut to state colleges and universities. Beshear called the decision illegal and asked the court to order Bevin to release the funds.

On May 19, 2016, the Franklin County Circuit ruled against Beshear. The decision stated that the constitution did not prevent Bevin from instructing colleges to spend less money, as he did in the executive order, but did prevent him from altering the funding they receive. Beshear appealed the ruling and on September 22, 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Bevin did not have the authority to control the budgets of public colleges and universities without the legislature's approval. This reversed the lower court's decision.

Source: Ballotpedia on 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race , Nov 30, 2017

Other governors on Education: Andy Beshear on other issues:
Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.State A.G. Daniel Cameron(R)

vs.Ambassador Kelly Craft(R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Jeff Landry(R)
vs.Shawn Wilson(D)
vs.John Schroder(R)
vs.Sharon Hewitt(R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R,withdrew)
vs.Brandon Presley(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2024:
DE: Gov. John Carney (D, term-limited);
vs. Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D)
vs. Matt Meyer (D)
vs. State Rep.Mike Ramone (R)
IN: Gov. Eric Holcomb (R, term-limited);
vs. Sen. Mike Braun (R)
vs. Suzanne Crouch (R)
vs. Jennifer McCormick (D)
MO: Gov. Mike Parson (R, term-limited):
vs. Jay Ashcroft (R)
vs. Bill Eigel (R)
vs. Mike Kehoe (R)
vs. Crystal Quade (D)
MT: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R)
vs. Ryan Busse (D)
vs. Tanner Smith (R, lost June 4 primary)
Gubernatorial Debates 2024 (continued):
NC: Gov. Roy Cooper (D, term-limited);
vs. Mark Robinson (R)
vs. Josh Stein (D)
vs. Dale Folwell (R, lost March 5 primary)
vs. Michael Morgan (D, lost March 5 primary)
vs. Andy Wells (R,withdrew)
ND: Gov. Doug Burgum (R, retiring)
vs. State Rep. Rick Becker (R)
vs. U.S.Rep.Kelly Armstrong (R)
vs. State Sen.Merrill Piepkorn (D)
NH: Gov. Chris Sununu (R, retiring)
vs. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
vs. Joyce Craig (D)
vs. Chuck Morse (R)
vs. Cinde Warmington (D)
UT: Gov. Spencer Cox (R)
vs. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R)
vs. Minority Leader Brian King (D)
VT: Gov. Phil Scott (R)
vs. Selectman Peter Duval (D)
vs. Commissioner Esther Charlestin (D)
WA: Gov. Jay Inslee (D, retiring);
vs. WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D)
vs. U.S.Rep.Dave Reichert (R)
vs. State Sen. Mark Mullet (D)
vs. County Chair Semi Bird (R)
vs. Hilary Franz (D, withdrew)
WV: Gov. Jim Justice (R, term-limited);
vs. WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R)
vs. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D)
vs. WV State Auditor JB McCuskey (R, withdrew)
vs. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R, lost May 14 primary)
vs. State Del. Moore Capito (R, lost May 14 primary)
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Page last updated: Jun 08, 2024; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org