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Ky. Education Commissioner Jason Glass is leaving his post

Ky. Commissioner of Education Jason Glass.
Kentucky Department of Education
Ky. Commissioner of Education Jason Glass.

Jason Glass will leave his position as Kentucky’s top education official to take a position at Western Michigan University. He has been the target of conservative politicians over his promotion of inclusive school policies.

Glass' last day will be Sept. 29.

“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 is quoted as saying in a press release Monday from the Kentucky Department of Education.

Glass’ decision to step down comes after months of partisan attacks by conservative Republicans over his guidance toward policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ students.

The GOP-led General Assembly changed state law this spring to require the Senate to approve the selection of the education commissioner. The Kentucky Board of Education hired Glass in 2020, and if the board chose to renew his contract, the commissioner would have faced Senate confirmation in September 2024.

The Brandenburg native has been on the job hunt since at least May, when news leaked that he was a finalist to lead Baltimore County Public Schools. Glass didn’t get the Maryland job, but a spokesperson said he was still considering other career opportunities.

Glass will serve as Associate Vice President of Teaching and Learning at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

KBE Chair Lu Young said Glass steered the state through a “tumultuous time.” Glass was at the helm of KDE through part of the COVID-19 pandemic, a devastating tornado outbreak in western Kentucky and historic flooding in eastern Kentucky.

“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 is quoted as saying in a press release.

The KBE plans to hold a special meeting in mid-August to determine next steps on selecting an interim commissioner.

Glass’ departure prompted gleeful statements from Republicans, including Kentucky Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron.

“One down, one to go,” Cameron is quoted as saying in a statement. “Andy Beshear’s Education Commissioner told teachers that if they expressed concern about radical gender ideology, they needed to find another job. That wasn’t the right answer. The right answer is for Jason Glass and Andy Beshear to find other jobs.”

Cameron is referring to Glass’ testimony in a Kentucky House Education committee meeting, in which he said teachers who were not willing to use LGBTQ+ students’ correct pronouns should “find something else to do.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

News Youth Reporting
Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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