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The Media Notices Badass Teachers

Susan Notes:

I post this item as 'good news' because it's way past time for teachers to stand up and fight. Teachers have been way too quiet for way too long. Here is how the Badass Teacher Association identifies itself on Twitter:


For teachers who do not accept the blame for the failure of our society. Who refuse to accept the corporate takeover of public education.

Here are a few of the media headlines from the last couple of days:

Thousands of teachers have come together to push back against high-stakes tests and the privatization of education.

  • 'Badass Teachers' Fights for Public Education

    A group calling themselves the Badass Teacher Association (BAT) launched a campaign on Monday against America's federal education policies.

  • 'Badass' Teachers' Bold Social Media Battle for Education Reform

  • Badass Teachers Association fights 'contempt for real teaching and learning'
  • And this group is just getting started.

    Visit the Facebook page.


    Make noise.

    'Badass' Teachers' Bold Social Media Battle for Education Reform

    June 24, 2013

    David Wood

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Many passionately believe education can be compared in many ways to the civil rights movement of our generation. Americans are fighting each day to ensure the focus of education is our children and not blanket, forced, profit-driven bureaucracy; and it is an embattled mission.

    Thousands have now banded together in the belief it is going to take a few good 'badasses' to really stand up to the machine.

    There is a cheeky but passionate group of educators who have started a closed Facebook group dedicated to fighting back against those they say have a contempt for real teaching and learning. In just 8 days the group has accepted more than 15,000 members globally who say they, as teachers, continue to be blamed for the failures of society.

    The goal of the rebel educator's group who call themselves The Badass Teacher's Association is to stand up for education, the kids they say are in crisis, and to make 'a lot of noise.'

    "The common thread with everyone in this organization is their concern about the direction that our educational system is going as far as corporate reform and the privatization of public schools," says local education advocate Terri Michal.

    Michal, who has been active with ensuring the publicity of the recently published notebook full of Butler High School complaints, was chosen as one of 32 global page administrators for the Badass Teacher's Association group page.

    "Teachers are sick of being blamed for the poverty and the failures of society," she says.

    Michal and her like-minded badasses say the focus of education is swiftly shifting from learning to profit right under our noses. Many agree standardized tests like STAR and programs like Common Core are being rammed down teachers' throats without any of their input at the policy level.

    "You can't run a school system like a business," insists Michal, "you have to be business-minded, you've got to have your money right, but learning needs to come first."

    These teachers say they are mad and ready to fight. That fight is certainly getting off to a bold start evidenced by the group's first point of business carried out Monday.

    "We asked every one to please call the White House and ask for the removal of Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education. So in 8 days we've been able to put this together and I can tell you," says Michal, "tons of people are calling and hopefully the national news media will pick up on it and report on it."

    Are you an educator who wants to join the fight? Check out the Facebook page here. Michal says while the Badass Teacher's Association wants power in numbers, the group is closed and there is a small screening process to make sure people who want to join live up to the group's nervy name.

    'Badass Teachers' Fights for Public Education

    Yahoo News
    Jun 24, 2013

    A group calling themselves the Badass Teacher Association (BAT) launched a campaign on Monday against America's federal education policies.

    The 15,000-plus strong Internet group spent Monday making hundreds of calls to the White House switchboard to tell President Barack Obama to replace Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Instead, the teachers want a lifetime educator who better understands and empathizes with teachers and parents.

    The White House call was the first action since the group started about a week ago with an initial 100 members on Facebook.

    The group is part of an ongoing revolution in education in which teachers, parents, and students are exasperated and exhausted by the Obama administration's Race to the Top proposals and the testing they require, the Common Core State Standards, and school closings.

    "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," Mark Naison, a professor of African-American studies and history at Fordham University and a cofounder of the Badass Teachers Association, told TakePart. 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."

    There's long been a push for Obama to replace Duncan, a longtime friend of the president's from their days in Chicago. Obama picked him as his Education Secretary soon after he was elected in 2008. From 2001 until then, he worked as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools.

    Duncan has plenty of foes from his Chicago days, particularly those who disapproved of his successful efforts to shutter underperforming schools and replace them with charter schools.

    "I want BAT to show everyone that we are not going away quietly, that we see the true agenda and it isn't about better education," Marla Kilfoyle, a teacher in California, said. "It is about profit and privatizing our public school system. I hope that BAT exposes that the school closings we are seeing in our inner city neighborhoods are not about helping kids but about business and money. I would like to see BAT expose that to the public and dismantle it so that we can start doing some real work that is genuine."

    Priscilla Sanstead, cofounder of the group and an activist parent, said she helped to get the BAT group started because she likes to connect people and ask questions that "a lot of people won't just go ahead and say out loud."

    Sanstead said that she wants big changes in education. She specifically wants standardized testing to be reigned way back, portfolios to become an accepted way to assess students, and for teachers to get a voice in setting education policy, she said. "I want smaller class sizes, too, and the way to do that is to spend money hiring more teachers."

    Bonnie Cunard, a Florida teacher and parent, is a member of the group. She says that although she can see education reform from both sides, things still need to change.

    "Mostly, I see depleted public schools and our public funds channeled to testing corporations and corporate, for-profit charter schools," Cunard said. "I see high-stakes tests strangling the education of children everywhere, including my own children.

    I'm very tired of teachers not being allowed to be a part of the decision-making process that affects our everyday lives and the lives of our students."

    She says that she hopes this group will awaken teachers across the nation "to the fact that many of us are fighting these same issues--that we are not alone...I also hope to take proactive steps to change policies regarding high-stakes testing, privatization, and depleted funding of public schools."

    Michael Peña, a public school teacher in Washington who led the charge to call the White House, says he hopes the group accomplishes three things: reduce or eliminate the use of high-stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom, and include teacher's voices in legislative decision-making processes.

    "I'm tired of being pointed at as the problem in education by people who don't understand the complexity of the public education system and how decisions are made by elected and unelected officials," Peta told TakePart. "I'm very tired of teachers not being allowed to be a part of the decision-making process that affects our everyday lives and the lives of our students."

    Many teachers are demanding that they have more control over their profession.

    "We are professionals," Denisha Jones, a professor at Howard University and a teacher educator, told TakePart. "We are educated. We deserve to make decisions regarding our craft. I hope that through this group, teachers can come together, organize, and save the profession from the corporate takeover of public education."

    Badass Teachers Association fights 'contempt for real teaching and learning'

    June 25, 2013
    Orlando Sentinel School Zone blog
    Leslie Postal

    A new education group, Badass Teachers Association, aims to offer a voice to teachers fed up with current education policy pushed by Washington, D.C. -- and Tallahassee. The group this week launched a telephone campaign to get U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan replaced, Yahoo! News reported.

    The group's closed Facebook page has more than 16,000 members, including local teachers and education advocates.

    The Facebook page says the group 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. "

    The group wants Duncan replaced because he has pushed policies -- such as support for charter schools and the Race to the Top program -- it sees as detrimental to public education, the Yahoo! story said.

    Teaches also reported they were fed up with a focus on high-stakes testing, teacher evaluations based on test-score data, and top-down decision making that left classroom instructors with little autonomy.

    "Teachers have had enough. We want our schools back!" read one of the group's Twitter messages.

    "The Badass Teachers Association is a response to the bullying of teachers. Payback is coming," tweeted a New York professor and one of association's founders.

    — various authors
    various media


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