KENTUCKY TEACHERS, education workers and their supporters gathered once again on this weekend for rallies at the state Capitol in Frankfort.
The protests represent the continuing urgency of the upsurge that has made Kentucky another site of the teachers’ rebellions that swept west from West Virginia through states formerly considered to be conservative “Trump country.”
At the same time, the demonstrations highlight some of the dynamics and debates that teachers need to consider for the movement to succeed.
At the start of April, an estimated 12,000 teachers and supporters descended on Frankfort, sparked into rebellion specifically by a disastrous attack on public employees’ pensions passed late on March 29 under the camouflage of legislation about sewer construction.
The next morning after this late-night legislative sleight of hand, teachers — led by the grassroots group #KY 120 United — shut down schools in 20 counties through coordinated sick-outs, and many traveled to the capital to send a message to lawmakers.
The tactic of the sick-out was used effectively again on April 2 as politicians considered anti-worker budget and tax legislation. Schools that weren’t closed because of spring break in most of Kentucky’s 120 counties were shut down again, and the turnout in Frankfort was the biggest yet.
Though some educators continued sick-outs or other protests in that first week of April, many looked ahead to April 13 — when the legislators’ recess ended and lawmakers would convene again — as the next date for a mobilization.
Developments between April 2 and April 13 highlight the questions that need to be addressed if the movement that…