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Kentucky Education Head Seeks Names of Teachers in Sickout

March 26, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis has asked local school officials to turn over the names of teachers who called in sick on the days that sickouts forced them to close, according to email obtained by the Louisville Courier Journal. The sickouts, protesting pending state legislation to change the teachers’ pension plan and give parents tax credits for private-school tuition, have closed schools in 10 counties since Feb. 28, including six times in Jefferson County, the state’s largest district. Lewis sent the requests on March 14, also asking for copies of doctors’ notes teachers had submitted to explain their absence. He told the Associated Press March 15 that he couldn’t “definitively” say whether he was going to use the information to discipline teachers, but “when you start to collect information, you don’t know what you’re going to find.” Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association in Louisville, which has not endorsed the sickouts, said it would provide legal representation to any member facing discipline. The Kentucky Education Association accused Lewis of “using the power of his office to compile an ‘enemies list’ of educators.” Read more

March 26, 2019

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