Beshear calls for more investment in education ahead of General Assembly session
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear says that he will push for more investment in education ahead of the next session of the General Assembly.
In the wake of national and state-wide test scores showing the impact of the pandemic on learning and teacher retention, the Governor on Thursday laid out a number of priorities that he will be taking to the General Assembly to push education forward.
He said now is the time, or even past time, to make meaningful investments in teachers, students and staff.
“We have to have bus drivers, just like we have to have our custodians, just like we have to have those who work in the lunch room,” Gov. Beshear said. “Each school is that village that wraps their arms around those students and everyone in that building is critical.”
The Governor said the most recent data shows that we have nearly 11,000 teaching vacancies and that is, in part, leading to the lower scores that we’re seeing in the national report card and state report card.
The pandemic has played a big role in this too, but the Governor says in order to rebound from those the state needs to invest.
He called for a 5% across-the-board pay raise for all school staff members, investment in professional development for teachers, as well as $3,000 in student loan forgiveness for teachers per year that they work as a teacher in Kentucky. He also called to restore teacher pensions for new teachers.
All of that, he says, will incentivize teachers to stay in Kentucky and stay in the profession which has become a struggle for districts.
“I know our legislators will want to be thoughtful on this, but this is one that they ought to be directly discussing because that is a real way that we can ensure our teacher shortage is temporary and not long-term,” Gov. Beshear stated.
The Governor also called for funding for universal Pre-K and Kindergarten. He said that during a time of record economic investment this could help bring more mothers back into the workforce and grow the labor force here in the Commonwealth.
The Governor said the state has a tremendous surplus and projections from this year show that will grow by 11% by the end of the year. He’s calling on lawmakers to use that money to invest in education.
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