Teachers are getting mad, and they're not going to take it anymore.
Within the last two weeks, teachers around the country have been joining together, first on Twitter, then on Facebook, and now in life (and at the National Education Association). They are assembling against the culture of constant for-profit standardized testing, and the long list of education reforms that have failed to serve the students as touted. Since they've finally realized that there's nothing civil in how they've been treated over the course of the last generation, they've coalesced around the cheeky, not-suitable-for-the-classroom moniker, the Badass Teachers Association.
From Facebook: "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 to use the word “badass” and are uncomfortable with its use. 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 even if no organization really supports us. We are Badass. We are legion. And we will force the nation to hear our voice!'"
Grassroots movements take some time to form - especially when they form organically. Some self-proclaimed grassroots organizations (say, Studentsfirst, or Stand for Children) require the funding of the Waltons and the Gates and the Broads to fund their priorities. This actual badass grassroots movement is now 20,000 teachers strong - in about two weeks.
They're tired of being the fallguy for everything that's gone wrong in education. They will no longer accept the blame for the societal issues that are driving much of the under-performance in our schools. And they are standing up for themselves, and for the students that they serve. They're pretty much badasses.
How do we know that this is an actual grassroots movement? That it's not some ploy by the Big Bad Unions?
Well, the national convention of the National Education Association is occurring right now in Atlanta. The NEA is the largest union and professional association in the United States. The NEA is often held up as the monster hiding in the closet that keeps those terrible, career teachers paid and not closing the achievement gap. You know the propaganda, right?
The Badass Teachers are making life a bit difficult at the NEA conference. While the "BATs" (as they like to be known) don't have a Common Core litmus test to join them, they are very suspicious of the implementation of the Common Core. They've adopted a stance that questions the lack of teacher involvement in the development of the standards as well as the impact on students who will be subject to new standardized tests. Apparently, last night's remarks by the head of the NEA, which amounted to unequivocal support of the Common Core, went over like a brick with the BATs. They're making some noise, and they just may be causing some more extended discussion - or even a split. (Full disclosure: I'm also concerned about the implementation, but I don't have an issue with the development of national standards. That post is for another day.)
Here's their blog, and their facebook group (which is a closed group, so I can't see their wall . . .). They're great fun to follow on Twitter at @BadassTeachersA, and we now have a Tennessee branch as well: @TennesseeBats.
Are you a badass? Don't you want to be a badass?