Friday, May 1, 2015

BATs Congratulate Senator Bernie Sanders

The Badass Teachers Association would like to congratulate you, Senator Sanders, on your recent announcement to run for president.  The Badass Teachers Association is an education activist organization that is nationwide. Currently, we are 55,000 strong with chapters in every state.  We are organizing on the ground to change the conversation back to what public education should be, about children and their future.  BATs have far reaching capability on Twitter, via our website, our blog, and Pinterest.

 Our organization was founded in June of 2013.  BATs fight for strong public education for all children and for teacher autonomy in the classroom. We are a group that refuses to take the blame for our government’s inability to address child poverty and its impact on how children perform in school. BATs fight, on a daily basis, the efforts of big money to privatize our schools and use our children as market capital.

First, and foremost, we appreciate that you have decried a move  toward the “privatizing” of education.

On teacher pay we could NOT agree with you more!

“The great moral, economic and political issue of our time is the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality we are experiencing. Something is very wrong when, last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned more than the combined income of 425,000 public school teachers. We have got to get our priorities right.”

You views on Pre-school are spot on:

“There is perhaps no issue more important than how we educate our youth. I am very concerned that, on many levels, we are failing our youth. We must do away with the archaic notion that education begins at 4 or 5 years old. For far too long, our society has under-valued the need for high-quality and widely accessible early-childhood education.”

We are very happy to see that you have a long history of voting NO on allowing vouchers  and support reducing class size to 18 children in grades 1 to 3.

Your efforts to overturn Citizens United, a non-profit that supports, and funds, the dismantling of public education, is to be applauded. As teachers and parents we have witnessed the destruction that the Koch Brothers and many other corporate interests have had on public education, our children, and our teachers.

Your fight against Citizens United is strong and grounded.  You have said, and BATs certainly agree, about Citizens United:

“In the United States of America, billionaires should not be able to buy elections,” declared Sanders, to thunderous applause.
“If we do not get our act together, we are moving towards an oligarchic society,” he continued, arguing that, “We have got to fight to defend American democracy.”

We are however disappointed that you did vote YES on requiring states to test students every year and hope that you will revisit that idea.  Please talk to educators, parents, and students to find out how testing and Pearson are on the verge of destroying public education in this country.  Assessing children is needed in education but it must be done responsibly and used to help kids - not to punish them, their schools, and their teachers!

We will be closely watching your education discussions on the following:
1. Charter school expansion
2. Teach for America
3. Annual testing
4. Common Core
5. Support for public education
6. Resource/Support funding low income areas
7. Plans for reducing child poverty
8. Plans for addressing racial inequality and systemic racism that continue to hyper-segregate our school system

In short, we welcome you to the presidential race.  BATs is a strong GRASSROOTS movement and we have been working for change in education for close to 2 years.  We want great schools for all our children.  BATs fight for schools that belong to the public and the communities they serve, not to Pearson, Wall Street, or the Koch Brothers.

***This is NOT a BAT Endorsement for President - just a congratulations***

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