Editor’s note: Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin came under fire last week after calling school teachers “selfish and short-sighted” for fighting against a pension reform bill the governor hopes to get passed through the state legislature. Among the many teachers across the state who are upset at Bevin because of his comments is Megan Hall, a first-year special education teacher at Letcher Middle School. Following is a letter Hall has sent to the governor.
Dear Governor Matt Bevin,
Here I am in my first year teaching as you so rudely and disturbingly call me ignorant and selfish.
I am truly perplexed and speechless (that takes a lot for an outspoken lady like myself) at how childishly you called educators names. You know, you wouldn’t have that vocabulary if it weren’t for a teacher. While I understand you weren’t the one who took money over the last years from our pension plan, you are no better than those who did by wanting to take more from us to put into Kentucky’s General Fund.
I work from seven in the morning until nine at night for children. I pay out my fair share every two weeks into the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and bring home less than $1,000 a paycheck. Sir, that is my money I worked for to have at retirement, not for you to take to balance the budget.
Since you are all about bringing jobs to Kentucky, consider legalizing gambling. I understand we all have our religious views, however, there’s separation of church and state for a reason. People are going to do it anyway; bring that revenue to Kentucky and fund our pension. Letcher County would greatly benefit from a casino, as the coal industry has plummeted. It would be a great asset for those coming to Pikeville for the battery factory. Being in eastern Kentucky, it will attract people from Virgina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and North Carolina, as it is no more than 2.5 hours to any of those states.
Also, in hopes you read this, I would like to break down how ignorant and selfish I am:
1. I give my last dollar to students on a weekly basis.
2. I volunteer my time with children seven days a week, months on end, to have a productive and successful athletic team.
3. I pay for sports participants’ fees and supplies children need for said sport so no kid is excluded. This does not include the countless dollars paid for fundraising supplies, gas to and from activities, and hours spent away from my family.
4. I nurture and love children daily who have never been loved.
5. I wash and buy the detergent for the student that can’t control their bladder.
6. I wake up thinking about my students, go to sleep thinking about them, and worry every minute over the weekend if my kids are warm, bathed, fed and have somewhere safe to sleep.
7. I buy them clothes and self-care products because their family has three more days until pay day. Have you ever had a kid look at you and say they can’t buy Neosporin after a traumatic head injury until Friday because they can’t afford it? I have.
8. During my weekly grocery trip I buy food for my classroom so I know in my heart they at least won’t be hungry at school. I’ve done the research today; 73% of students at Letcher Middle School qualify for free lunch — more than half. I thank God every day we have a “dinner” program at school so our kids can get one last meal before they go home.
9. I deal with students’ burdens that you can’t even dare to fathom. Have you ever had a kid look at you and say, “I am homeless. I’m moving for the 10th time because I’m in foster care. My dad got arrested this weekend for drugs.”
10. I buy classroom supplies with my hard earned money so my kids don’t have to say, “I don’t have a pencil.”
11. I’m ignorant for working in a state that requires a master’s degree, but get treated and thought of as scum.
12. I’m ignorant for spending four years at the University of Kentucky thinking I would have government officials back me as a professional.
13. I’m ignorant for wanting my part of the pension funded and paid into, as I do every two weeks, so one day I can retire.
Governor Bevin, I hope you understand how truly selfish and ignorant I am. MEGAN HALL Letcher Middle School Special Education Teacher