The New Education Commissioner is Against the Planned Charter School Amendment

The New Education Commissioner is Against the Planned Charter School Amendment

Dr. Robbie Fletcher will be the new education commissioner for Kentucky on July 1. He will be in charge of the state’s Department of Education. Soon after, in November, people in Kentucky will vote on an amendment that could change public schools all over the Commonwealth.

With Constitutional Amendment 2, people will be able to say whether public funds should go to public schools or private schools. If passed, politicians would be able to decide whether to use public funds to support private or charter schools.

Fletcher made it clear that he won’t back that plan.

He told the press on Monday, “When I walk into the voting booth, I’m going to vote against the amendment.” “Let me be very clear about that.”

“Personally, I will vote against it because I do not believe that public funds should go to private organizations,” he said.

But Fletcher made it clear that as a public worker, he will respect Kentucky’s choice if it goes against what he thinks.

“If the people of the Commonwealth vote for this, it will be my job, as commissioner, to help the state legislature – to help school systems, to help KDE – to implement that in the best way possible,” Fletcher said.

After ten years as director of schools in eastern Kentucky’s Lawrence County, Fletcher will become the state’s education commissioner. He began his job as a science and math teacher. Later, he worked his way up to become an assistant principal and then a principal.

His predecessor, Jason Glass, had a rough time in office. During his time in office, he had to lead schools through the COVID-19 pandemic and get into fights with GOP lawmakers.

Republicans in the legislature were very critical of Glass for the state education department’s attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people.

A reporter asked Fletcher last month what he thought about a broad law that was passed by GOP lawmakers last year. The law says that transgender teens can’t use the bathroom that matches their gender identity and lets teachers refuse to call them by the pronouns they use.

“My goal will be to love all children, no matter where they come from or what choices they make,” he said.

When Fletcher spoke to the Senate committee, he promised to work with the lawmakers. This made Republican lawmakers feel good.

He also said good things about the new two-year state spending plan that lawmakers made. He said it was the “best budget for education” he could remember. On Monday, though, he made it clear that he will fight for more resources, such as teacher pay raises.

“I’ll always ask for more help,” Fletcher said. “What better thing can we put our money into than our kids?” Things like teacher pay are part of that.

“If we ever get to the point where we’re the top ten in the nation, I may quit advocating for teacher raises…so you’ll see me a lot of times over the next two, three, four years – and maybe beyond – advocating for resources.”

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