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KY Education Commissioner rips General Assembly over SB 150; Speaker Pro Tem responds

An already testy relationship between Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass and some members of the Republican leadership in the Kentucky General Assembly will probably not be improving anytime soon.  Following the passage of SB 150, which addressed several gender-related issues, Glass waded into the issue in his weekly column published in Kentucky Teacher, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Education.  

Calling the bill "a sweeping and harmful piece of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation," Glass lashed out against certain provisions of the bill, echoing much of the politically-charged language found in public debates surrounding these types of issues.  He asserts that the bill puts "Kentucky at the front of a series of similar hateful, ignorant and shameful efforts around the country."

Glass continued with his political attack on SB 150, which easily passed the Senate on a 30-7 vote and the House on a 75-22 vote.

"These kinds of laws are often put in place when there is (effectively) a one-party government. Minority and marginalized groups are frequently targeted, demonized and persecuted – fueling more of the misplaced rage and anger-tainment based politics that makes it nearly impossible for Kentucky to live up to our state motto of “United We Stand," said Glass.  "The Kentucky legislature is following a terrifying, but sadly well-trodden path. In the long run, history does not reflect well on such regimes. And in the short-run, we should all be concerned about who will be their next target."

KY Commissioner of Education Jason Glass

Republican leaders were quick to fire back at Glass and his description of SB 150.  

House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, said the commissioner is bringing politics into the classroom and that in his role as the state's leading education official, his focus should be on academic improvement in the classroom.  

“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," said House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford.  "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."

House Speaker Pro-Tem David Meade, R-Stanford


Previously, the Kentucky Department of Education, under Glass's leadership, issued a recommendation that teachers should use a student's preferred pronouns even if they differ from the student's biological gender.  

“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.”

At least one Republican candidate for governor, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, was critical of Commissioner Glass and his comments.  

Cameron stated that as governor his goal would be 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.”

Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is widely expected to veto the legislation.  Describing SB 150 as "anti-trans,"  the governor said that the bill will lead to more teen suicides in the state and that it interferes in parents' right to make important medical decisions.  Besheas is running for reelection and is expected to face a strong Republican challenge.


Among other things, SB 150 would prohibit medical procedures, including surgeries, hormone treatment, and puberty blockers from being performed on children.  School personnel would not be permitted to discuss sexual orientation or gender-related issues with students.  Parental consent would be required before school personnel could discuss any issue related to human sexuality.   Students would be required to use restrooms that correspond with their biological gender.  School personnel would not be required to refer to students' by their requested pronoun if that pronoun differs from their biological gender.    


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