Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BATs Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity 

**This document was originally titled White House Conference on Education and Equity.  It has since been changed.  Betsy DeVos has also been added as someone we will not invite to our legislative briefing on education and equity.  BATs involvement with the #WeChoose national coalition has also been added to this document. **

The Badass Teachers Association, representing a network of over 200,000 teachers and education activists throughout the United States, formally request a Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity.

Our organization stands firmly against the serious harm being perpetrated to public education by both corporate privatization and right wing fiscal starvation policies.  The current political rhetoric strengthens our resolve to reclaim the rights of all children to a free public education.     

We focus on the many reasons poverty is claiming the lives and health of our children, and we focus on keeping our K-12 schools from privatization and the target of under-funding.  

Our organization  proposes that a Legislative Briefing be initiated.  Like much of the American landscape, Public K-12 Education requires infrastructure overhaul that have been installed to insert barriers that inhibit authentic learning. We do not accept the mendacity that racial and ethnic minorities must fail due to a manufactured system that sets them up to do so. 

We witness what happens when social justice safeguards are removed by forces that hide inside school choice and free market de-regulation.  Public school teachers are this country’s first responders against the effects of poverty. 

School privatization profits from systemic racism and use their profits to build higher barriers and deeper inequities.  Testing monopolies and “business” style management practices now glean millions exploiting our children and disregard our students with special needs and English Language Learners.  These efforts must not go unchecked. 

Some of these barriers we’ve revealed as part of the Reform/privatization agenda include:

Monopoly control over ill-suited testing; over-testing;denied access to special needs and ELL services;deterioration of facilities that threaten teacher and student health; targeting teachers for speaking out about inequity;placement of the unqualified and inexperienced TFA personnel into districts;school closings/turnovers/receiverships in districts with high minority enrollment for the purpose of   gentrification; funds digressed from public education into charter programs with no accountability;  ‘test and punish’ replacing  humane classroom management practices we believe is child abuse and feeds the school to prison pipeline;  monopoly control over our state licensing, certification  and professional development; teacher bullying; micromanagement of teacher schedules;marginalizing arts curricula;destruction of our library system; subcontracting security, substitute and transportation functions  without concern for qualifications or student safety; Student data manipulation and the selling of student data; Democratically- elected school boards have been taken over by authoritarian privatizers alleging “the business model” and denying, predominantly communities of color, their voting rights as well as their right to democracy;  Acceptance of a disrepute ‘VAM,’ formula to tie teacher evaluation to student test scores.

All these issues and more have become systemic because of educational inequity and the specious, facile blame on teachers and teacher quality. 

This is why we need your support for a Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity.
Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will create a sanctioned environment for experienced teachers to posit infrastructural changes that will remove barriers that perpetuate racial, ethnic and societal failure.    

Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will bring worldwide attention to our concern that our democracy is being undermined at its heart and its roots. It will give leaders opportunity to fully understand why we must invest in our children as precious resources as part of our democratic infrastructure.  Importantly, it will replace the world view perpetrated by privatizers that our schools are crumbling, and that our teachers, and children, are failures.
Our Legislative Briefing will invite scholarly papers on a list of concerns we have related because the breadth and scope of these issues demand the widest possible support from our brightest and best academic, child welfare, anti-trust, child development, health, nutrition, social justice, technology, journalism, labor, cultural resource, architecture, and grassroots civil rights advocates. These papers will anchor our discussion through the lens of education and equity.  Our plan is to examine extant conditions and recommend new paradigms.  We will invite speakers and participants who are willing to work with us to make Public Education and Equity continue as the foundation of our democratic ideals.

Legislative Briefing Proposal
Legislative Briefing  is the first step.  Equity and Public Education go hand in hand and can never again be separated.  Our public education system is the heart of our country and the foundation of its infrastructure.  Reclamation will need to reflect this as much damage has been done to our students, our communities, and to our profession.  Our profession must move forward.
It is now up to American Public School Teachers to reclaim the mission and intent of American public education from attempts to corporatize, unfund and privatize our schools.  It is time to come together to restore the democratic values and move forward by reclaiming our independence from the yokes of privatization and political gentrification.  Our founding fathers left a stain of racism that has been allowed to fester because the values of their ancestors could not be removed.   We believe that only through education can the stain of racism and ignorance be finally eliminated. Our profession is unique to democracy and our profession must be freed from ancient colonial biases.  Our healing and restoration must be anchored in the promise of democracy -- not by factions and disaggregation created by profiteers, but with the spirit of unity and a belief that our students are our foundation and our future.

Legislative Briefing will focus on teachers, students, parents, community, and teaching.  We will learn from each other how to rescind the damage.  We will rely on each other's knowledge as we no longer will be forced to buy into what does not work for our students.  

We reclaim our professionalism.

Leaders in Education, Education Law, Economics, Civil Rights, Environmental Policy, Child Development, Psychology, Architecture, Health, Labor Law and Journalism will be invited to submit papers that will be reviewed for task force organization and presentation.   The corporate business community must be relegated to a benign position and no longer be in control, guide or influence the work of educators. 
Lobbyists and agents of organizations that have lobbied for NCLB, RTtT and profit makers behind many aspects of the new ESSA will not be invited.

These include but are not limited to:  Betsy DeVos, Teach for America, Eli Broad Educational leadership, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton Foundation, and Pearson Education or its affiliates.  Any member of the American Legislative Education Council or its affiliates, or any employee or agent of the Democrats for Education Reform, Wall Street Hedge Fund Managers, individuals such as Campbell Brown, Michelle Rhee, Right to Work supporters, Tea Party, Heritage Foundation, or allies of the Koch Brothers. This 
Legislative Briefing conference recognizes the intent of these organizations/individuals and the parts they have played in deforming public education.  It will be up to the discretion of the Legislative Briefing planning committee to screen all who aspire to submit papers to the conference. 

Focus on Reclaiming Infrastructure through Communication, Advocacy and Understanding
Teachers need a broad and overarching understanding that a clean sweep of the laws that force local education agencies to dedicate public funds to privatization schemes will be relegated to the past.  Anti-Trust Laws must be examined and enforced.  Civil Rights and Censorship rules that govern education policy must be reviewed for their moral governance.  Policies and practices that have been forced upon public education and teachers must now be examined for their impact and moved out of the sphere of influence that govern our schools.
We welcome your response to our request, and attach our proposed framework, as well as our Amicus Brief in the Friedrichs vs. CTA Supreme Court case, for your further consideration.  http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/14-915_bsac_Brittany_Alexander.pdf
  It is imperative that we work together to start to rebuild the K-12 infrastructure.

Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity 


Our Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity planning will begin by inviting scholarly papers based on research needs identified by our members. Once papers have been submitted, the White House Education and Equity Planning Group will create Special Task Forces that will organize seminars, speakers, panels, and workshops.

          Our Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will use on-line and televised services in order to reach out to teachers throughout the world using an interactive platform whenever possible.  We would like the videotapes of each session to be available as Professional Development for worldwide interest and interaction, available as a free resource for colleges, universities, libraries in as many formats as possible.  We invite curriculum to be written for teachers and made available for international circulation. 

Our Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will call together experts in educational research statistical methodology, child welfare, experts in school to prison pipeline and prison privatization, social justice researchers and advocates,  anti-trust experts, child development experts, health educators, nutrition specialists, education technology experts, journalists, labor relations and retirement experts, cultural and museum educators, librarians, architects, environment and renewable energy scientists, and civil rights activists.   Expertise and factual analysis are our guideposts.

 Our Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will anchor discussion through the lens of education and equity.  We will examine extant conditions and recommend new paradigms.  Teachers, students, and parents should be at the center of the discussion to reclaim Public Education.

Our Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity will equip America’s teachers with ways to remove the effects of disinvestment and privatization.    Our purpose is to build equity back into our public school system.

Disinvestment has removed the political, social and economic infrastructure that safeguards the mission of public education.  Disinvestment not only loots public revenue designated for public education in order to finance so-called “school choice” vouchers and charter schools, but uses deceptive language to disenfranchise trust in public education and educators.  Well- financed lobbyists purporting “cures” for failing schools attempt to disengage public responsibility to fully support public education. Lobbyists conjure fear to prey on public confidence, gerrymandering trust using politically biased “research.” These high priced power brokers paint a failure paradigm by removing inequity, racism and poverty as the primary inhibitors of school success. 

Bogus studies have been invalidated -- refuted by our own members and allies-- but now a new lexicon of deformed words and phrases have been used as a way to legitimize fear and intimidation. Terms like “grit” and “rigor” do little except sell the importance of using standardized tests.   Our members and allies have had to de-code and translate these deformed words and phrases while fending off bullying attacks on our profession, our credentials, our benefits, our retirement savings, and our unions. These terms fill the popular media with the placebo that privatization and standardization will cure failure. While our school leadership grows ever more top-down, authoritarian and “unaccountable,” our state and federal Department of Education continue to tout VAM,  higher class counts, and other ways that imbed student failure.  Instead of protecting our students, these agencies keep demanding more data while throwing money at Charter privatizers and more testing.  ESSA, our revised enabling legislation, openly provides for hedge fund profiteers and continued expansion of privatization.   

Whole sectors of our society are being lock stepped into privatization, and like those sectors that protect what affects us all,  education is being bullied into abandoning equity as its primary raison d'ĂȘtre.  Privatization not only fails to address equity and social justice, but low-balls public expectations for legitimacy of corrupt practices.

De-regulation gerrymanders local, state and federal laws.  It allows  privateers’ products offering indicators of “student growth” in an effort to manipulate public opinion and undermine public support for public education.   These laws take clear aim at leveling equity for special needs and ELL students.  These children were labeled “defective” by the Chairman of a corporation well-known for its support for public charters after his corporate headquarters moved out of a locality with a heightened reputation for diversity and high quality based on its service to special needs students. 

While Congress recognizes this policy as inversion and tries to force multinational corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, tax loopholes that anchor corporate subsidy are extant in state and local laws.  While quality public education is used as an exploitive marketing ploy to invite large employers to move into states, large corporations turn their advantaged positions to wield laws that undermine financial support for public education.  These laws are lobbied heavily as pro-public while privatizers take aim at the attributes of equity that create qualitative schooling, diversity and attention to all special needs students. Public dissatisfaction with tax burdens augments anger and a rationale for political scapegoating. Public outcry to local school boards to cut bloated programs force Superintendents to protect Title I programs that seek equity for high-risk, high needs students by cutting art, music, instructional assistants and other proven attributes that define school success and quality education.  

Privatization violates equity by advocating human failure the same way slavery and indentured servitude professes one human life more valuable than another. Corporate privatization re-imbeds Jim Crow segregation into our society.  The “peculiar” institution will – if unchecked – will continue to gentrify our communities, our schools and the opportunities public education affords all students.  

 It is our belief that un-regulated monopolies have taken charge of the public agencies established to regulate and protect our public education system with the same anti-intelligentsia attacks against our environment.  The US Department of Education has, through NCLB and RTtT and in its role re-tooling ESEA, forced systematic privatization of our public education system by “blended” and “revolving door” staffing patterns that reek of collusion; this forces mistrust of government itself, much the way EPA has been ridiculed and blamed for the Flint’s water crisis.  In education, mistrust of teacher competency to evaluate and assess student growth is ubiquitous.  While VAM has been beaten back in ESSA, it persists among local and state agencies appointed to oversee teacher evaluation.  Our Amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al. outlines how VAM attacks teachers and their union protections, and how VAM is no better than junk science.

 Public school students and public educators can ill afford collusive practices that protect charter school incompetence because collusion rends inert the very promise of democracy.  There should be a clear line of demarcation between government and privatization in order to protect the public good. Anti-trust laws must be reintroduced to stop privatization.

 The only way to stop privatization is to stop it.  The full force and effect of authoritarian rules, laws and practices must be examined as carefully as possible in order to restore equity for all, not protect the entitled few.  

Public Educators believe that enough is enough. Our job, in coalition with parents, students, and the communities we serve,  is to create and articulate a new education paradigm based on civil rights or social justice. 

o   Our Teachers will work with the purpose of reclaiming and restoring equity to American Public Education, and our suggestions, analyses and recommendations will be shared with members of the Education, Legislative, and Executive branches of government, State Education Agencies, local school boards, unions and parent organizations,  college and university partnerships, schools of education, professional development and teacher preparations programs, blogs, journals, newspapers, magazines, and social media outlets.   

We Will Reclaim Public Education and its Mission of Equity. Public education must rid itself from the schemes of privatizers. Profiteering does not belong in our work to rebuild and reclaim Education.  

We reject the greedy interlopers, misdirections and compromises that alter the scope of the federal, state and local government agencies and re-establish and protect the mission of Public Education. 

o   We reject the premise that accountability is the primary purpose of those who legislate and budget our schools.

o   We reject the cripplers of our students’ future through exclusion and elitism.

o   We reject elected officials influenced by lobbyists who profit from school starvation, and will reject them at the ballot box. 

o   We reject efforts to impose legislation that use monopoly-owned tests to “credit score” our schools and dumb down the academic growth through exclusion.

o   We reject the attitude of populist indifference that allows inequity to fester and deepen. 

o   We disinvite disinvestors and profiteers and “edupreneurs” to the Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity.  We recognize the malignant intent of these organizations to undermine democratic values of pluralism, multi-culturalism and respect for diversity.   Their efforts have been to remove educational equity by demeaning teachers, parents, and students, marginalizing the role public education plays in a democratic society with “divide and conquer” practices.  They offer no qualitative solution to social justice through equity.  

o   These include but are not limited to: Lobbyists and agents of organizations that have lobbied for NCLB, RTtT and profiteering aspects of the new ESSA will not be invited.  This includes leadership that has actively pursued privatization and starvation of public education: Betsy DeVos,  Democrats for Education Reform (DFER);  Teach for America (TFA);  Eli Broad Leadership; The Council for Teacher Quality;  The Walton Foundation; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;  Pearson Education or its affiliates;  any member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or its affiliates; any employee, representative  or agent of  Right to Work;  any member or representative of the Tea Party;  an member or agent of the Heritage Foundation; any member of the Libertarian party;  any representative or agent of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, or any subsidiary or beneficiary; individuals such as Campbell Brown and Michelle Rhee; any member of the charter school industry and any member of the Koch Brothers organization. 

Recommended Task Force Members and Topics

 BATs Legislative Briefing on Education and Equity 

VAM and Inequity: using Student Data to Determine Teacher Quality
American Statistical Association http://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/asa_vam_statement.pdf

The Legal Consequences of Mandating High Stakes Decisions Based on Low Quality Information: Teacher Evaluation in the Race to the Top Era

Sheri and Bruce Lederman - http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2016/05/breaking-lederman-decision-and-gallup.html

The Houston Seven - https://dianeravitch.net/2014/05/01/the-story-of-houston-teachers-suing-districts-test-based-evaluation-system/
THE IMPACT OF TFA: Cloaking InequityDr. Julian Vasquez Heilig - Cloaking Equity http://cloakinginequity.com/2014/01/07/teach-for-america-a-return-to-the-evidence-the-sequel/
Dr. Jameson Brewer - Teach for America Counter Narratives http://www.tjamesonbrewer.com/tfa-counter-narratives.html
Poverty and Underachievement

Baby Brains: The First Year
Evidence mounting that poverty causes lasting physical and mental health problems for children (This one doesn’t have links to the studies, but names them so they could be found..)http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2013/11/25/CHILDREN-and-POVERTY/stories
Citizens United:  Implications for Education
Black Lives Matter
Dr. Denisha Jones
BEWARE OF EDUCATION REFORMERS WHO CO-OPT THE LANGUAGE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT  http://www.empowermagazine.com/beware-education-reformers-co-opt-language-civil-rights-movement/
Jesse Hagopian - https://iamaneducator.com/
Teachers as first responders
Oklahoma teachers first responders in classrooms w/ kids during Oklahoma tornadoes http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/us/oklahoma-tornado-school/
Wraparound services that promote equity
Vocational Education--  Coalition building—re-integrating  the role of small business and organized labor
How ESSA supports the visual and performing arts
Title 1 - Section 1008 - Schoolwide Programs “well-rounded” education https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177/text#toc-HBCB1043F254B467C880CA4632EB8661D
Cultural literacy and Cultural Education
Rethinking Schools - Online Archives Library http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/index.shtml
What role do race, ethnicity, language and gender play in the teaching profession? http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13613324.2011.624504
Dr. Sam Anderson and the NYC Coalition for Public Education
Sonya Romero – Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher

The Report Card approach to school evaluation
NAEP - Nations Report Card 2015  http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/
Equity needs to be reinstated as an element of school quality
Linda Darling Hammond - Funding Disparities and Inequitable Distribution of Teachers file:///C:/Users/Marla/Downloads/1053-3438-1-PB.pdf  
Rural Education  How rural education and poverty is being targeted by privatization in the US and internationally.

Native American Education
Representation by Tribal Nations throughout the country
The political process and the voice of educational equity.
Gilda Ritz - Superintendent of Education in Indiana
Helen Gym
Jhatayn “Jay” Travis
Zephyr Teachout

Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold 

Brett Bigham
Larry Proffitt
Nina Turner
Jitu Brown and The Journey for Justice
Gus Morales
Kim Cook 

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia 

Adell Cothorne
The Right Reverend Dr. Bishop John Selders
Cheryl Binkley
Dr. Betty Rosa, Chancellor of the Board of Regents, New York, Judith Johnson, Kathy Cashin, Beverly Ouderkirk, Judith Chin, and Catherine Collins (NYS Board of Regents Members)
Dr. Denisha Jones, Howard University
Gladys Marquez-Padilla, Hispanic Caucus NEA
Dyett Hunger Strikers
Karran Harper Royal
Rev. Dr. William Barber III
Lupita Nyong'o, Rosario Dawson and Aasif Mandvi  - Education NOT Deportation
Save our Schools March
Network for Public Education
Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (Keron Blair - Director)

Partners in the #WeChoose National Coalition
BROAD Superintendents and the harm they have done to creating equitable education environments
Sharon Higgins - Meet the Broad Superintendents http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/15/meet-the-broad-superintendents/
What happens when we listen to teachers, students, parents
Jia Lee testifies in front of HELP Committee http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Lee1.pdf
Karen Lewis and Michelle Gunderson- Chicago Teachers Union
Sonya Romero – Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher
Marla Kilfoyle interviews for Board of Regents at 4:33 http://nystateassembly.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=3079
Ivy Bailey – Detroit Teachers Union
Melissa Tomlinson, New Jersey teacher, bullied by Chris Christie http://www.msnbc.com/the-ed-show/watch/christie-caught-bullying-local-nj-teacher-61248067812
Gus Morales – Massachusetts Public School Teacher/ Workplace Bullying
Neshellda Johnson – Tennessee Public School Teacher  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=714757278593150
Montserrat Garibay – Texas Educator  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxsxyg6rg2c
Asean Johnson – Chicago Student Activist

Shoeneice Reynolds
Newark Student Union
Philadelphia Student Union
Providence Student Union

Algebra Project

Nidalis Burgos and Rousemary Vega
Opt Out students from around the nation

Eileen Graham - Buffalo (NY) Parent
Zakiyah Ansari – Alliance for Quality Education
Jeanette Deutermann and Lisa Rudley  LIOO and NYSAPE

Maribel Padin-Canestro - LIOO
Charmaine Dixon and Nancy Cauthen – NYC Opt Out
Robin Roberts, Shakeda Gaines, Tonya Bah, Will Thomas and Eric Brice, – Philadelphia Opt Out
Cindy Hamilton - Florida Opt Out Network
United Opt Out
School funding:  Teachers as Professionals
School to Prison Pipeline
Enhancing educators’ ability to stop the school to prison pipeline https://www.schooljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/Keeping-Kids-In-School.pdf#page=191
Teacher health, and reducing the stressors with on-site stress reduction strategies.
Our hero Journalists
Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet Washington Post
David Sirota
Fred LeBraun, NYS LOHUD, Keshia Kluckey, Politico NY, Gary Stern, NY Times Union, Jamie Franchi from Long Island Press, NY, Claude Solnik  of Long Island Business News
Rick Smith, The Rick Smith Show
The Jeff Santos Show
Education Town Hall - We Act Radio with Thomas Byrd and Virginia Spatz
The LA Progressive – Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
The Young Turks
             Ed Shultz
             Thom Hartmann
            Amy Goodman
            John Oliver
            Progressive Magazine
            Jonathan Pelto and Education Bloggers Network
            Jon Stewart
            Bill Moyers http://billmoyers.com/story/hedge-funders-built-pro-charter-political-network/

Corporate Media Ownership and the Echo Chamber’s influence on Privatization
Netflix - Reed Hastings/Rupert Murdoch/Bloomberg/Rachel Maddow/Eli Broad
Teachers/Educators/ Higher Education as bloggers and writers
Steven Singer - Gadfly on the Wall https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/
Peter Greene – Curmudgeducation http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/
Daniel Katz - https://danielskatz.net/
Mercedes Schneider - https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/
Troy La Raviere  https://troylaraviere.net/
Increasing Teachers of Color – diversity in the teaching force
Recruiting and retaining teaches of color; voices from the field.    http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/3/3/2158244013502989 
PE and the need for exercise during the academic day
Supporting Public Health Priorities: Recommendations for Physical Education and Physical Activity Promotion in Schools http://www.onlinepcd.com/article/S0033-0620(14)00142-X/abstract
Public education for LGBT youth
Brett Bigham
LGBT Students from around the nation
Neighborhood Schools should reflect neighborhood culture.
Journey for Justice - Death by a 1000 Cuts
Eliminating Citizens United and return to democratic normalcy
Anti-Trust laws and eliminating the monopoly stranglehold on Education
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Robert Reich
International global education reform and implications for teaching with equity.
Protecting Student Data Privacy

Class Size 

           Leonie Haimson  https://www.classsizematters.org/

Equitable school design…how architects will use new materials and technologies to create safe environment for schools using renewable resources
http://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/green-school-design-better-health-and-educationand-more-cost-effective  “Lower-income and minority children disproportionately suffer from poor indoor air quality and related problems in conventional schools. Children in low-income families are 30 percent to 50 percent more likely to have respiratory problems that lead to increased absenteeism and diminished learning and test scores. Greening public schools creates an opportunity to improve the health and educational settings for all students, regardless of income or background, a process with clear moral benefits. The financial benefits of a more equitable educational system are difficult to calculate, but could be substantial in terms of increased diversity in the workforce, community development, increased productivity, etc.”  

Health Care (Single Payer) Retirement and pensions and the Teacher’s struggle against Privatization
            Fred Klonsky https://preaprez.wordpress.com/ 

Defending the early years

Defending the Early Years Organization  https://deyproject.org/about/

Susan Ochshorn  http://ecepolicyworks.com/what-we-do/

Preservation of our Library systems
Susan Horton Polos  http://www.trumbulltimes.com/54709/a-librarian-signs-out-sue-horton-shares-her-favorite-memories/

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