Badass Teacher Association (BAT) Takes Protest To Washington

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Badass Teacher Association (BAT):

This association is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning…

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The BATs protested the devastating educational policies of the United States Department of Education and Arne Duncan today! The Rally lasted from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and drew over 550 teachers, parents, and educational activists from 38 states. BATs demanded such things as ending federal incentives to close and privatize schools, promote equity and adequate funding for all public schools, and ban all data sharing of children’s private information.

BATs asked and were allowed to enter the USDOE at 3:30 to meet with the Civil Rights Department Senior Advisors. The BAT delegation included Tennessee BAT Larry Proffitt, Co-Founder of BAT Mark Naison, Connecticut BAT Yohuru Williams, New York BAT Marla Kilfoyle, Chicago parent activist Shoneice Reynolds, and Chicago student activist Asean Johnson. The BATs met with the Civil Rights Department for 30 minutes and Secretary Duncan entered the room around 4:00. BATs were able to meet with the Secretary for approximately 45 minutes to air our concerns about charters, Teach For America, school closures, teacher retention, mass layoffs of teachers of color, teacher morale, special education, and the role of the Federal government in education policy.

In the days to come the 6 people who met with Secretary Duncan will be writing personal reflections of the meeting and we will be posting it in the next few days. Secretary Duncan also set up future meetings for BATs to discuss several issues with his department. Please understand that we have all worked very hard and are processing this amazing day – so be patient and we will get more info as as soon as we can!

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BAT Co-founder Dr. Mark Naison states in an interview with Suzie Parker of TakePart, “I think that many teachers hoped that if Barack Obama was re-elected, he would ease up on the testing, and the school closings, and the test-driven teacher evaluations. Instead  he doubled down on all of those, leaving teachers with no other option than to speak out in the most forceful way possible; say, ‘enough is enough;’ and demand a seat at the table in shaping education policy, which they emphatically do not have now.” 

In the same interview with Parker, Co-Founder Priscilla Sanstead proclaims, “I want big changes in education. I want standardized testing to be reined way back, portfolios to become an accepted way to assess students, and for teachers to get a voice in setting education policy. I want smaller class sizes and the way to do that is to spend money hiring more teachers.”

Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager of BAT, states about the event, “Teachers, parents, and students have had enough! We want our public schools returned back to our communities, we want adequate funding to  meet the needs of our children, we want child poverty to be addressed as a major issue of why children struggle in school, we want mayors to stop closing schools, and we want the USDOE to stop pushing top-down reforms that aren’t working!”