GOP hates edumacation

As Gov. Matt Bevin and the state legislature get closer to a special session to fix Kentucky’s pension problems, he has been ramping up the political rhetoric to sell what will inevitably be a controversial plan. Bevin’s mean-spirited words should come as no surprise. They are from the Republican playbook, reinforcing contempt that the GOP has for public education… as it continues its campaign of anti-intellectualism.

Republicans, led by Donald Trump, say science is suspect, facts are fake and education needs more religiosity.

They say public institutions, including schools, can’t do anything as well as the private sector — free-market solutions. And schools shouldn’t have to teach evolution, science and anything that undermines the Bible’s authority.

It’s the same sentiment that led most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — 56-percent — to say higher education negatively affects the country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, won’t visit a public school. Recently, while in Florida, DeVos didn’t step foot in a single traditional public school, but instead visited a charter, private and voucher school.

This Republican-brewed anti-intellectualism is also pushed by party leaders, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. Remember when Mitch tried to dismiss climate change by saying, “I’m not a scientist…”? Or when he said, “For everybody who thinks it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t.”

What about Paul “Jughead” Ryan, who was asked if he believes humans are causing climate change, and said, “I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think science does, either.”

Actually, Jughead, science does.

Which brings us to Bullying Bevin, and his assault on facts, intellect and teachers.

Which two groups of people does Bevin hate most (outside of Democrats)? The media — we are “liars” — and public school teachers, whom he asserts abuse the system, waste your tax dollars and look after themselves, not students.

Why does he hate teachers so much?

Recently during an interview on WVLK radio Bevin accused teachers of hoarding sick days to pad their pensions — “gaming the system.” All public employees were targets of that criticism in a report prepared to suggest pension solutions… but he chose to single out teachers. He didn’t call out state police, judges or administrators.

Then, when responding to the suggestion that teachers may retire early to avoid pension reforms, Bevin said, “Frankly, if a teacher thinks so little of their responsibility and their obligation to their students and the families that they’re responsible to that they would literally walk out on their classroom, in their own self-interest, that’s an unfortunate decision I would certainly hope that a teacher would not make … you probably should retire.”

Governor, while you were a hedge-fund manager, these people were teaching our children. Who are you to tell them they shouldn’t look out for their families?

Finally, possibly Bevin’s most despicable moment yet as governor: He kicked off a recent Facebook Live forum on pensions by addressing one woman’s response to an email blast promoting the event. Her reply: “Don’t ever fucking email me again.” She didn’t send this to LEO or The Courier-Journal, post it on Facebook or Twitter — she replied directly to Bevin.

What did the petulant, thin-skinned governor do? Called her out by name — made her out to be a bad-guy to garner sympathy in his push for pension reform. Adding hypocrisy to embarrassment, Bevin had the gall to say, “These are the kind of things that are not helpful to this discourse … This does not encourage good dialogue.”

So, governor, why did you start the dialogue by publicly attacking this woman? You’re the only one making her part of the “dialogue.”

Bevin and others in his party do not believe in public institutions, science or critical journalists. They may see their political ends as justification for their disgraceful means. The least he could do is treat pubic school teachers with respect, not as political adversaries or straw men.

Did they skip the Golden Rule in your New Hampshire Christian Elementary school? Or at that private academy high school in Maine?

You owe her an apology, governor, and you need to stop your attack on facts, science and education.