Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, is making significant changes to the systems of teacher certification in Kentucky.
In early August 2018, he abolished the Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB) and transferred its responsibilities to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). Within the KDE, he then created the Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness. The executive director of the new office will report to the Commissioner of Education.
Criticizing these executive orders, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said, “This week Gov. Bevin continued his attack on public education and our public school teachers. Through executive order, he has once again tried to rewrite the laws on the EPSB, the board that determines who teaches our children. All Kentuckians should be fed up with these ongoing attacks and power grabs.”
Hal Heiner, a Bevin ally, was chosen as the new chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education. Wayne Lews, a Heiner aide and a proponent of charter schools, was chosen to be interim Education Commissioner after Bevin appointed seven new members to the Board of Education. There is speculation the previous commissioner, Stephen Pruitt, was forced to resign.
Although Gov. Bevin is already unpopular with many of Kentucky’s public school teachers for his attempt to overhaul pensions and for the ways he criticizes their collective action, he continues to rattle the state’s educational structures.
In other news, the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP) was not funded by the state legislature for the 2018-2019 school year. KTIP was initiated in 1985 by the Kentucky General Assembly. It provided first year teachers with a trio of supporters (i.e., principals, University faculty, and instructional supervisors) with expertise in guiding and assessing beginning teachers. Through observation and mentoring, first year teachers were supported in their instructional practices and professional growth. This program was strengthened by the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERPA) in 1990. From there, the EPSB was established as the state’s governing body for teacher certification.
School districts are now expected to create some sort of induction program for new hires without the formal structure of KTIP. On its website, Northern Kentucky University states, “We are sad that this program is ending, as most people have found it extremely beneficial for new teachers.”