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Join us tomorrow as we march on the Department of Education
There's going to be a BAT Swarm tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

The Badass Teacher Association is going to march on the Department of Education tomorrow.  Who are the BATs, you say?  Well, Politico has described us as a "militant splinter group" of the unions, which considering the source, is rather a compliment.

But take two minutes and find out who we are:

In short, we're pissed off about always being blamed for everything. Blaming a teacher isn't going to fill a kid's belly. Blaming a teacher isn't going to fix the leaky roof, or get required textbooks.

So, we march. But what are we marching FOR?  What are our demands?

BATS March demands from L. Graykin on Vimeo.

1. End all Federal support for the Common Core State Standards

2. End all Federal grants that require teacher and school ratings based on student test scores. END HIGH STAKES TESTING.

3. End Federal incentives to close and privatize public schools; HALT expansion of corporate charters.

4. INSIST on high quality TEACHER-DEVELOPED curriculum based upon knowledge of child development RATHER than narrow, top-down, test-based standards

5. Replace Arne Duncan with a lifetime public educator and require that veteran public educators have majority representation on education committees.

6. Promote EQUITY and adequate funding of ALL public schools for ALL students; With appropriate class size for ALL students.

7. BAN ALL DATA SHARING *without parental consent, and school district permission, with FULL DISCLOSURE about collection and sharing for informed consent.

8. Require ALL publicly funded schools to operate with ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY; Protect the Free Speech Rights of Teachers, Principals, Students, and Parents.

9. End ties to Teach For America and support mentoring for new teachers as CAREER professionals.

10. Restore the rights of children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and protect the needs of English Language Learners.

Yes, it's ambitious. But it's the RIGHT thing to do.

Below is a schedule of what will be happening. Add the Newark Student Union to the list of speakers tomorrow.

Those of you at Netroots Nation heard Lily Eskelsen Garcia as she spoke of the privatization of public schools and of turning our children into nothing but cut score numbers. This. Must. Stop. Education is for the WHOLE child.

Even the words to DESCRIBE education have changed. They used to be words like "cultivate", "nurture", "grow" and organic words. Now they're "invest", "product", and corporate and business words. Our children are not products or assets. They are CHILDREN.

Join us tomorrow. Follow the livestream link in the top picture.

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM PT: Today at the rally, we had a meeting with Arne Duncan himself! Stay tuned for a diary on this.

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Comment Preferences

  •  with enough militant splinters you get planks (21+ / 0-)

    for many platforms

    Well, Politico has described us as a "militant splinter group" of the unions, which considering the source, is rather a compliment.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:14:46 PM PDT

  •  No. 6 is one of most important. n/t (17+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:23:28 PM PDT

  •  I like this: (7+ / 0-)

    Require ALL publicly funded schools to operate with ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY

    Because publicly-funded schools includes charters.

    Actually, I like all of it.

    Was my public school education perfect?  No.  But it certainly wouldn't have been made better by more high-stakes testing and lowering the math standards (as Common Core would in my high school).

    The things that made my good teachers good, and my great teachers great, included mastery of the subject matter, high but attainable standards, genuine interest in what they were teaching, and kindness to and empathy for students (which can indeed co-exist with high standards).  None of those can be adequately measured by a multiple choice test, or a three or five paragraph essay written to some rote structure.

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:38:52 PM PDT

    •  Let's not forget creative and interesting lesson (5+ / 0-)

      plans.  

      Something that teaching to a test makes nearly impossible on an ongoing basis.

      © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:43:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What amazes me is that these people get it (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, karmsy, zenbassoon, ER Doc, blueoasis

      so wrong. It's like they're looking into another universe.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:44:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of them are corporate true believers. (6+ / 0-)

        They believe their wealth and success in one field make them qualified to set policy anywhere they like.

        Some of them are profiteers.  They see education reform as a great way for private corporations to make money off public treasuries, whether that's writing and administering the tests (that cause five-year-olds to wet themselves), or running charter schools for profit.  (No teachers unions, no kids with developmental disabilities or behavioral problems, no English language learners...)

        And some are parents and community members who have been let down for public schools for too long, desperate for some ray of light that might get kids out of poverty or the lower middle class.  They want the charters, even if they know not one kid in ten can get in.  They want the "higher" Common Core standards, not knowing that the math would prepare you for only community college.  only 2% of students who enter college without having taken calculus end up with a STEM degree:

        Superintendents, local school committees, and most parents, in fact, have been led to believe that Common Core’s mathematics standards are rigorous. They are not complicit in this clever act of educational sabotage. But those who wrote these standards are. They knew that only one out of every 50 prospective STEM majors who begin their undergraduate math coursework at the precalculus level or lower will earn bachelor’s degrees in a STEM area.
        It is for this last group that I have sympathy.  They want better for kids, and are being hoodwinked by the first two groups.

        © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:56:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, 2% of STEM students who (4+ / 0-)

          start at pre-calc or lower.

          So, below calc, but also just out of students who want to get STEM degrees.

          That's 98% who can't complete the major they wanted.

          They weren't all math dummies, or people who decided on another major for a positive reason.  A lot of them were let down by the college prep they didn't get, and the struggle to try to catch up to their peers who'd had pre-calc and calc, plus all the additional requirements, in four years.

          © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

          by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:01:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This (8+ / 0-)
          They believe their wealth and success in one field make them qualified to set policy anywhere they like.
          is a very real trap. Businessmen are prone to this arrogant meddling, in education and other fields, but other kinds of well-paid and prominent professionals, too.

          Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

          by karmsy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:10:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Link on testing and five-year-olds. (6+ / 0-)
          They are instructed to put on their headsets. The headsets are meant for adult sized people, not teeny people. I notice that for most kids, the headsets were way too big. If these kindergarteners had been built by Dr. Frankenstein the headsets would have hung down to the two bolts coming out of their necks.  Few kids complained or sought help though. Maybe they had done so the day before?  Most either let them rest below their ears or used one hand to hold an earpiece on one ear while their other hand held the mouse. Optimal listening conditions it was not. My daughter did say to me "See mom, they don't fit. And when the person on the computer starts talking, I can't hear what they are saying." Well, then, that could sort of skew a result couldn't it? "Deal with it as best as you can" I said. "Hold it on one ear and listen on that side." Her eyes filled with tears. "I tried to do that yesterday,” she said. "I can’t really hear." She turned back to her computer. Even five year old’s are self conscious of crying in front of their peers.

          I would imagine, that for many five year olds, this MAP test would be the first time in their lives that they could not talk through problem with an adult, or have an adult use different words that would help them better understand a problem.  I understand that the testing field has to be equal, but I am here to tell you, it just feels wrong for a child so young not to be able to ask for clarification. Here is an example of what I mean:  One question on the MAP test asked the kids to choose the picture that best represented something divided into three equal parts. "I don't understand what divided means. What does that word mean?" a little girl asked me.  "Ahh, I'm sorry. I can't tell you." I said.  Her little face looked up at me confused and somewhat betrayed. "Why? Why can't you tell me? Because you know I really don't understand what divided is. I need your help." "I'm sorry.” I said feeling like the slug adult I was “I can't help you with that. Do the best you can."

          ...

          In the midst of all of this, I walked past my daughter.  She looked up at me, her face red from crying, I could see that tears had been collecting at her collar "I just can't do this," she sobbed.  The ill fitting headsets, the hard to hear instructions, the uncooperative mouse, the screen going to command modes, not being able to get clarification when she asked for it… her little psyche had reached it’s breaking point. It took just two days of standardized testing for her to doubt herself, quickly trading a love of learning for the shame of incompetence.  Later on when I picked her up after her long seven-hour day, she whispered into my shoulder "I'm just not smart mom. Not like everyone else. I'm just no good at kindergarten, just no good at all.”

          © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

          by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:31:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd go even a step further... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, zenbassoon, ER Doc

      ...and require that all public schools be truly public—not just funded by the public, but run by them as well.

      In other words, I'd call for the requirement that each and every person in authority in a given school district or individual school be either directly elected by (and thus directly accountable to) the public, or appointed by and serving at the pleasure of people who are directly elected by the public.

      Further, I'd require that each and every person in authority in a given school district or school be a member of the public they were serving, to the greatest extent possible—in other words, those in positions of authority at the district or school level would be required to live in the community and (where applicable) send their own children to the school(s) they're running.

      No more charter school boards made up of unelected officials who can't be fired by the school board or superintendent. No more people serving on the boards of three or four charter schools in various cities. No more elected officials underfunding school districts and then shuttling their own kids off to elite private schools or a public school in the tony suburbs. No more celebrities opening their own charter schools when they want to look like they're giving back to the community.

      We the public don't just fund the public schools, we own the public schools—all of them. It's time for our local governments to seize the assets of privately-run charter schools and put them under the authority of local school boards. Any school that is not 100% owned and operated by the public (through our government), in its entirety, is not in any way, shape, or form a public school.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:59:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good points. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon, JamesGG, ER Doc

        As long as you're talking about school boards and not principals (because I think principals should be teachers, first and foremost), I mostly agree.

        © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:04:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even principals should be included. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenbassoon, cai

          They would be the second category—those who aren't directly elected by the public, but who are answerable to and serve at the pleasure of those who are directly elected by the public.

          That doesn't mean that principals can't or shouldn't be teachers first. I definitely agree that principals should have a lot of experience at the front of the classroom, even if it turns out that their skill set was more suited toward administration and management than toward day-to-day teaching—simply because they need to understand how the educational process works and what it's like to be a classroom teacher.

          But I do think that at the end of the day, everyone in the public's school system should ultimately be answerable to and accountable to the public—whether that's directly through election, or indirectly through appointment by directly-elected officials.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:16:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In the video, the narrator says, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon

    "These actions will be announced as timely as possible," which isn't correct.

    Not being nit-picky, but it seems important for a teachers' group to use correct grammar.

    On the bright side, it gives me an excuse to post this:

    Wonder if any BATs will use it in their classrooms?

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:37:44 PM PDT

  •  Love the Video (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon

    I hope the teachers are heard !

  •  Just returned from the rally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, allison88

    Great experience with a lot of dedicated people who care about democracy, social justice and the place of education in both. Arne Duncan agreed to meet with a coalition of BATs after the rally. We need more members (you don't have to be a teacher) to strengthen the message. Message me if you are interested in joining.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK, Jr.

    by KimmieInIN on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:57:11 PM PDT

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