Former WCMS teacher elected to Fayette school board
Being elected to serve on the Fayette County Board of Education gives former Woodford County Middle School teacher Tyler Murphy a platform to continue speaking out about issues facing public education in Kentucky, he said.
Murphy said he will continue fighting to make sure public education dollars are not being spent on charter schools so “our schools get the resources they need to help the kids in public schools.”
His view opposes the perspective of Gov. Matt Bevin and state Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, who are both outspoken advocates of starting charter schools in Kentucky.
Murphy said it’s also important that teachers are respected as professionals and receive due process in hiring and firing decisions. And he has concerns that the teaching profession is being diluted and undermined by the Kentucky Board of Education’s recent decision to eliminate a master’s degree requirement for teachers, he said.
Murphy said it also troubles him that the state’s new school accountability system framework may allow superintendents to disband a school’s site-based council if it’s labeled as a Comprehensive Support Improvement school, as is the case with seven schools in Fayette County.
One of the biggest challenges faced by teachers in Kentucky elementary schools is having enough staff so students who need more help are given the assistance they need, according to Murphy. He said some Kentucky school districts have larger class sizes because of reductions in staffing, or cannot provide textbooks and other resources for students who may need additional help.
“We continue to see students who are bringing the challenges from home into the classroom, and yet our Family Resource Centers are being cut,” said Murphy. “So that’s limiting our schools’ ability to assist kids at home with meals and clothing...”
In Fayette County, Murphy said, “I would like to see us get serious about early childhood education. I think that Fayette County could really be a leader in expanding early childhood education, especially for our low-income families.” In many cases, he said the challenges facing schools are the result of opportunity gaps before a child begins kindergarten.
Asked if he has higher aspirations than serving on the board of education in Fayette County, where he lives, Murphy said, “My passion is community service and trying to make a difference. And right now, the biggest threat, I think, facing our community is the attacks on public education.
“So I’m focused as a school board member on responding to those (attacks) and strengthening public education. And then whatever the future holds, I’m open to the possibility” of running for a higher elected position such as serving in the state legislature, “because God knows they could use more teachers up there.”
Murphy taught social studies at WCMS for five years before becoming a government and history teacher at Boyle County High School this year.