Kentucky Education Commissioner announces departure

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected].

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Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jason Glass, who has faced heavy criticism from the Kentucky legislature, announced that he would resign on Sept. 29.

Glass accepted a position as the associate vice president of teaching and learning at Western Michigan University.

The Kentucky Board of Education appointed Glass to a four-year term in 2020 that was set to expire in September 2024.

“These past three years have been a remarkable journey, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to return to my home state and serve as commissioner,” Glass said.

Glass oversees the entire K-12 school system, which includes 635,000 students. He also acts as superintendent for 53 area technology centers and the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Glass came under fire from the legislature earlier this year after being questioned about the department’s guidance over using pronouns for children. Several resolutions said the commissioner was “politicizing” his position because his department issued guidance around gender-affirming care and, according to critics, pushed the LGBTQ lifestyle into students’ curriculum.

Republicans immediately attacked his comments and echoed those statements Monday.

“After telling teachers they can leave the classroom if they don’t want to follow the administration’s radical rules, it appears the commissioner of education finally recognizes how out of step he is with Kentuckians and is following his own advice,” said House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade (R-Stanford).

On the campaign trail this spring, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Daniel Cameron, pointed to the Glass, who he said was appointed by the Kentucky Board of Education, which Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear appointed.

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“He’s out of step with the values of folks in Northern Kentucky when you have a commissioner at the Department of Education that cares more about gender ideology studies than reading and writing,” Cameron said.

Defeating the “woke” ideologies of the education department has been a talking point amongst candidates on the Republican campaign trail.

Kentucky Board of Education Chair Lu S. Young said that Glass led the organization through one of the most challenging times in history — Glass arrived six months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He led deftly through the challenges of the pandemic and two major natural disasters while, at the same time, galvanizing support across schools and communities around a bold new vision for learning and teaching in the Commonwealth,” Young said.

The state board of education will call a special meeting in mid-August to figure out next steps, with an interim education commissioner expected to be announced once Glass leaves the position in late September.

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