Monthly Archives: November 2014

How to Know if You are A BAT

Although This is an amazing organization, and there are more than 31,000 of us, not everyone could, or should be a BAT. Here are a few simple ways to determine whether you, or some one you are trying to recruit, belong in this group:

You are the only one in your school to speak up at faculty meetings
( although many people who remained silent come up to you afterward to tell you how happy they are you did)

You tell administrators at your school what you really think, not what they want to hear

Your colleagues come to you constantly with problems with the administration that they afraid to raise themselves

You go so BAT S..t crazy when someone makes a snide comment about teachers at dinners and parties that your spouse or significant other threatens to leave you

You are the first one students come to when they need a letter of recommendation, money for carfare or lunch, or a place to stay when they are kicked out of the house

You get wedding invitations from students who last had you in class 10 or 20 years ago.

Do those work for you? If you have others, please feel free to add them!

“Education Summits” Without Teachers

Whether our leaders are Republican or Democratic, they seem to think Education Policy is too important a subject to allow mere teachers to have a voice in shaping it. These days, the only stakeholders that matter to elected officials are billionaires, large corporations and foundations and education policy groups funded by both. When Barack Obama held an education summit several years ago, no teachers were invited so it is not surprising that Florida Governor Rick Scott is taking the same approach in his state by organizing his summit during school hours. The result is the nightmare we are all living with- K-12 testing and teacher evaluation based on those tests, with added pressures imposed by the full court press for the imposition of Common Core Standards. The Education Coup D’Etat we are facing is the result of people crossing party lines at the top, so we must cross party lines at the grass roots in organizing resistance. The people we are fighting look at teachers, parents and students with paternalistic contempt. We must respond to their contempt with Solidarity and a vision of education rooted in love and respect for teaching, and for the students we teach, in all their variety.

Don’t Blame the Public Schools : A Bronx Tale

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Factories started closing and moving South, taking tens of thousands of jobs Bronx residents depended on with them:

The public schools stayed open.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, landlords started burning their buildings leaving parts of the Bronx looking as if it had suffered aerial bombardment

The public schools stayed open.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the crack epidemic hit the Bronx, raising the murder rate to unprecedented heights and causing fearful residents retreat to their apartments

The public schools stayed open

Then, when the new century hit, crime rates started to go down, the Bronx’s economy began to slowly recover, and many of its residents started to feel safe again

The public schools stayed open

But politicians and the press began to blame them for poverty and inequality.

Think that’s fair?

Four Reasons Why I Am Pumped Up About the BATS March on Washington

1. It is a celebration of the creativity of public school teachers, parents and students as well as a protest with songs, plays, flash mobs, banners, poems and chants. What it is NOT, is a litany of boring speeches.
2. It is a multiracial event which show cases our movement’s growing strength in the inner city, with speakers highlighting protests against corporate school reform in Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington DC. We have speakers from the Badass Moms of Chicago, from the Newark Student Union, from parents groups in Philadelphia along choruses and theater groups from Akron and Washington DC.
3. We have a full day of leadership training the day before the March which includes workshops on blogging, on labor history, on how to run for union and public office, on how to deal with issues of race, and privilege within our movement.
4. This is an entirely self funded event, with all money raised through a Go-Fund Me site, We have not accepted grants from any foundation, publisher, business or union.
If you like what you hear, come join us at the US Department of Education in Washington on Monday, July 28, from 10 AM to 5 PM!

BATS- Finding a Teacher Voice

If there is a single contribution that BATS has made in the one year of its existence, it is to show the powers that be that public school teachers- in all their diversity and variety– are not a silent, compliant group who can be demonized, standardized, scripted, deprived of due process, and forced to commit professional malpractice at the expense of the students and families they serve without speaking up, fighting back and ultimately organizing to replace the people responsible for these soul destroying policies. Together, we have found a teacher voice that is loud, but also compassionate and prophetic. Thank you all, for making this possible. It has truly been a collective effort and a labor of love ^0^0^0^