Kentucky's Governor Race

Candidate Comparison

Andy Beshear (D),
Attorney General of Kentucky

Matt Bevin (R) (Incumbent),
Governor of Kentucky

This candidate did not respond to the Southern Education Foundation’s formal request for information regarding their education platform. All information for these comparisons was either sourced from the candidate’s responses to our formal request, the candidate’s website, or from statements the candidate made in articles cited below.

This candidate did not respond to the Southern Education Foundation’s formal request for information regarding their education platform. All information for these comparisons was either sourced from the candidate’s responses to our formal request, the candidate’s website, or from statements the candidate made in articles cited below.

Bio: Born and raised in Kentucky Andy Beshear currently serves as the Attorney General for the state, and is running for Governor of Kentucky in 2019. Beshear’s desire to serve as Governor of Kentucky stems from issues he encountered as Attorney General, including fighting against the opioid epidemic by taking on opioid manufacturers, advocating for transparency in government, and pushing for quality education for all of Kentucky’s children.

Bio: Matt Bevin, the 62nd and current Governor of Kentucky, was initially elected in 2015 and is running for re-election in 2019. Prior to being elected Governor, Bevin served in the military and owned several small businesses that employ individuals across Kentucky. Bevin is also involved with a number of nonprofits and scholarship funds that support children, access to electricity and clean water, and education.

Primary Education Priorities: Attorney General Beshear believes in increasing funding for public education and making more resources and materials available for students to attract more companies to Kentucky. Additionally, Beshear’s running mate in the election is a public school teacher and assistant principal.

Primary Education Priorities: Gov. Bevin supports the advancement of school choice legislation and an increase in the educational choices available to parents and families in Kentucky. Gov. Bevin put a stop to the practice of “sweeping” lottery funds to programs unrelated to education. He ensured that 100% of Lottery funds go toward the education system where it was promised. Gov. Bevin also asserts on his website that per-pupil educational expenditures under this administration have been increased to historic highs.

Early Education and Pre-Kindergarten: Attorney General Beshear’s campaign did not provide a plan for promoting early childhood education and Pre-K programs in Kentucky.

Early Education and Pre-Kindergarten: Gov. Bevin’s campaign did not provide a plan for promoting early childhood education and Pre-K programs in Kentucky. Gov. Bevin’s administration presides over the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, which was instituted by his predecessor.

K-12 Funding: Attorney General Beshear believes in fully funding every public school.

K-12 Funding: Gov. Bevin proposed cutting $198M from the state’s public education budget in January 2018. He also proposed eliminating at least 44 state-sponsored education programs. Additionally, Gov. Bevin required all school districts to cut administrative costs by 12 percent in 2018-2019, and another 12 percent in 2019-2020. Deeper cuts will mean that adjusted for inflation, Kentucky will spend 13 percent less per pupil in 2019 than it did in 2008. Meanwhile, the state is eliminating funding for textbooks and instructional materials, teacher professional development, and the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program, a one-year mentoring program for new teachers. Proposed state education budget cuts have led schools to cut back on art and music, course offerings, student supports and even special education services in some cases.

Private School Choice: Attorney General Beshear opposes the passage of school choice legislation in Kentucky. He also opposes the introduction and passage of tax credit scholarships.

Private School Choice: Gov. Bevin supports school choice and pro-charter legislation; he favored and continues to support an education tax credit bill in Kentucky and made school choice an educational priority of his first term. Additionally, Gov. Bevin allied with U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, on school choice legislation that would establish a federal tax credit program.

Community Schools or Wraparound Services: Attorney General Beshear’s campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to increase funding specifically for community schools and wraparound services.

Community Schools or Wraparound Services: Gov. Bevin’s campaign did not provide a stance on the expansion of community schools or wraparound services to underserved populations.

Student Safety and Mental Health: Attorney General Beshear’s campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to promote student safety and expand mental health services for children.

Student Safety and Mental Health: Gov. Bevin’s campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to promote student safety and mental health.

Teacher Services and Professional Development: Attorney General Beshear filed a lawsuit attempting to block Gov. Bevin’s subpoena of teachers’ records following their engagement in teacher activism. Attorney General Beshear also sued Gov. Bevin’s administration over their pension reform law that would privatize teachers’ pensions, and won the lawsuit.

Teacher Services and Professional Development: In 2018, Governor Bevin signed into law a major pension law that was later struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court. A provision in the law would have put new teachers in a 401(k)-type plan instead of a traditional public pension program, possibly affecting the ability of public schools to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. Following a 2019 teacher “sick-out” in Kentucky, Gov. Bevin subpoenaed records for all the participating teachers from the state Department of Education to threaten their employment.

Investments in HBCUs: Attorney General Beshear’s campaign did not provide a plan for increasing funding for HBCUs in Kentucky.

Investments in HBCUs: Gov. Bevin’s campaign did not provide a plan for how Gov. Bevin plans to invest in HBCUs in Kentucky.

The Future of Public Education on the 2019 Ballot in

Kentucky, Louisiana, & Mississippi

What You Need To Know

2019 Governor Races:

Choosing Our Children's Future

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