Educators who are sick and tired of being blamed for whatever woes exist in the public education system have banded together in a group named to show their disgust and defiance: the Badass Teachers Association.
In the short time that it has existed — it formed last month — the organization has attracted more than 20,000 members on its Facebook Page and, according to its new website, has begun to form state chapters to, among other things, organize resistance to school reform that focuses on using standardized test scores for high-stakes accountability purposes.
The group was started by Mark Naison, a professor of African-American studies and history at Fordham University in New York and parent activist Priscilla Sanstead and teacher Marla Massey Kilfoyle of New York. (I have published some blog posts by Naison, including this one, titled, “Why Teach For America can’t recruit in my classroom.”
The group’s mission is explained on its Facebook page, which says that the organization was
… created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.
Our goals: BATs aim to reduce or eliminate the use of high stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom and work to include teacher and family voices in legislative decision-making processes that affect students.
Group guidelines: We are a rich and diverse group of education professionals and concerned citizens/families who strive to engage in discourse that improves our profession. We encourage dialogue about many hot-button issues but page administrators reserve the right to delete comments, threads, and (if necessary) individuals from the group that do not engage in respectful civil discourse….
Actions: BAT will engage in organized group actions such as phone calls, emails, or letter writing. These actions will be announced as timely as possible so it will allow all members an opportunity to be a part of the action.
A note on the name: There have been many discussions about the name of the group. There are some who feel it is offensive or unprofessional …. We disagree. As Dr. Naison says: “We’ve had enough. We are not your doormats. We are not your punching bags. We are some of the hardest working, most idealistic people in this country and we are not going to take it anymore. We are going to stand up for ourselves, and stand up for our students….