Speaker Pro Tem David Meade presided over the House earlier in the session. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Liam Niemeyer)
Two Republican office holders on Monday slammed Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass for his criticism of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation enacted by the General Assembly.
House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, said in a statement that Glass “once again makes it abundantly clear that it is not the legislature that is politicizing the state’s classrooms and curriculum.”
Lawmakers, Meade said, are “pushing back at an administration bent on shutting parents out of important conversations about their children.”
In a tweet, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a candidate for governor, criticized Glass for worrying “more about social-engineering than he does test scores.”
On Friday, the day after the legislature combined — and quickly passed — a bill limiting health care for transgender youth with a bill allowing educators to misgender students, Glass issued a statement criticizing the “stitched-together” legislation as “sweeping and harmful.” The revised bill also put state restrictions on sex education in public schools.
Glass said the bill “contains provisions that will put our young people at risk, have the government interfere with decisions between doctors, patients and families and puts Kentucky at the front of a series of similar hateful, ignorant and shameful efforts around the country.”
Republicans have criticized Glass for a Department of Education guidance issued last September “to schools seeking to support LGBTQI+ students and their families as they begin to tackle” concerns about preferred names and pronouns “as well as others related to identity.” A spokesperson for KDE previously said in a statement to the Kentucky Lantern that Glass told the House Education Committee “if a teacher could not follow a district’s guidelines, they should find employment elsewhere. This is the same advice that applies to any employee in any industry.”
In the fall, the Kentucky Department of Education will host a “summit in support of LGBTQIA+ people and youth,” Glass said. More details about the event are to come at a later date.
Last week, both the House and Senate approved changes to a hastily-changed version of Senate Bill 150. It was originally introduced by the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Craft, Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, to ban any Education Department guidance against misgendering trans students. Now, it includes provisions from House Bill 470, which among other things seeks to ban gender-affirming care for minors.
Here’s Meade’s statement in full:
“Friday’s statement by the Commissioner of Education once again makes it abundantly clear that it is not the legislature that is politicizing the state’s classrooms and curriculum. Last session, the Kentucky General Assembly funded K-12 public education at historic levels, only to see him commit to using Department of Education resources to further his patently political cause. This only further proves that lawmakers are not pushing an agenda, we are pushing back at an administration bent on shutting parents out of important conversations about their children. And, we are committed to ensuring the people and institutions our children depend upon are acting appropriately on their behalf.
“As the Commissioner of Education, Mr. Glass’s focus should be on improving reading and math scores in order to prepare this generation of Kentuckians for future success. He should be working with educators and policymakers to find ways to help our children regain the learning lost when the governor closed schools. Instead, he is doubling down on his support of policies that pit vulnerable children against their families and telling teachers that if they don’t like it, they can find another job.”
In his tweet, Cameron vowed if elected governor to “prioritize reading, writing, math and the core academics our kids need to succeed” and to have an education commissioner “who understands that our K-12 system is for learning. It is not an incubator for the far-left’s indoctrination.”
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