What Diane Ravitch Means To Me

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Am I crazy?

That’s what many of us had been wondering before we read Diane Ravitch.

As teachers, parents and students, we noticed there was something terribly wrong with our national education policy. The Emperor has no clothes, but no one dared speak up.

Until Diane Ravitch.

We were told our public schools are failing – yet we could see they had never done better than they were doing now.

We were told we should individualize our lessons – but standardize our tests!? We were told teachers are the most important factor in a child’s education – so we need to fire more of them!? We were told the best way to save a struggling school – was to close it!? We were told every child has a right to a quality education – yet we should run our schools like businesses with winners and losers!?

It was absurd, and the first person to question it was Diane Ravitch.

In doing so, she saved many people’s sanity, she saved a generation of students and educators, gave parents clarity and direction, and she started a social movement fighting against the preposterous policies being handed down from clueless businessmen and bureaucrats.

This weekend the Network for Public Education will honor Dr. Ravitch at a dinner on Long Island for her tireless work fighting against this corporate school reform.

I wish I could be there in person to tell her what she means to me and others like me. Instead I offer this modest tribute to a person who changed my life and the lives of so many others.

I was a different person when I read “Life and Death of the American School System” back in 2010.

I had been in the classroom for about seven years, but I was just starting to feel like a real teacher.

I had just completed my National Boards Certification and felt like I wasn’t just surviving with my students anymore but could actually make intelligent decisions about how best to educate them.

And a big part of that was Dr. Ravitch’s book.

For a long time I had noticed that things weren’t as they should be in public schools.

I had put in a great deal of work to get my masters in teaching, to engage in hundreds of hours of professional development, not to mention three to four extra hours every day at the school passed dismissal time doing tutoring, leading extracurricular activities, grading and planning for the next day. I spent hundreds of dollars every month buying books, pencils, erasers, even snacks and meals for my students. Yet the school still treated me – it treated all of us – like greeters at WalMart.

We were highly educated, highly dedicated professionals but our opinions were rarely sought on policy matters. We were the experts in our fields and in our students who we saw everyday more than many of their own parents. Yet we were told where to be and when, what to teach and how long to teach it. We were told how to assess the success of our students and ourselves. And we were told how to best remediate and what else we should be doing that we never had time to do.

Was I really such a failure, I remember thinking. I work hard with my students everyday, see them make tremendous strides and still the standardized tests say it isn’t enough. What was I doing wrong?

Then I read Diane’s book and saw the whole thing from a different perspective.

It wasn’t me that was wrong. It was the system.

It wasn’t the students that were failing. It was the tests that didn’t assess fairly.

It wasn’t the schools that were deficient. It was the way they were resourced, valued and set up to fail by government and industry.

That book and its 2013 sequel, “Reign of Error,” really opened my eyes. They did for many people. Without them, I’m not sure I would still be a teacher today. I’m not sure I could have kept at it thinking that my best efforts could never be enough, that my exhaustion, my fire, my skills would never bridge the gap.

Diane Ravitch put it all in context of the social and historical struggle I had learned about, myself, in high school. I was engaged in the good fight for the civil rights of my students. Brown vs. Board wasn’t just a story in some textbook. I could see how the outmoded excuse of “separate but equal” was still being given today in my own increasingly segregated school and segregated workplace. Why was it that most of my academic students were poor and black? Why was it that the honors kids were mostly upper middle class and white? Why was it that my school situated in a poorer neighborhood was crumbling and the school a few blocks over in the richer neighborhood looked like the Taj Mahal by comparison? And why was it that teachers in my district got $10-20,000 less in their paychecks with the same experience than those in the wealthier community?

Dr. Ravitch made sense of all of that for me. And it made me very angry.

When colleagues came to me to discuss how they wished we had merit pay, I could turn to her books and see how it was a trap. When students came into my classroom after being kicked out of the local charter school, I had an explanation for why they were so academically behind their peers. And when contrarians complained about our union dues and wondered what they were getting in return for their money, I could give them an intelligent answer.

Diane Ravitch gave me the light that made sense of my whole professional world. I had been living and working in it for years, but I never really understood it before. And that gave me the courage to act.

When my state legislature cut almost $1 billion from K-12 education, armed with her books and blogs, I volunteered to lead educators in social actions against them. I sat down with legislators asking them to help. And when they refused, I knew we could protest outside their offices, make noise and the story would get to the media.

Ultimately it didn’t convince the legislature to heal all the cuts, but it helped minimize them, and when the next election cycle came around, we sent the governor packing.

I read Diane’s blog religiously and through her found so many other teachers, professors, parents, and students whose stories weren’t being told by the mainstream media. In fact, whenever so-called journalists deigned to talk about education at all, they rarely even included us in the conversation. So I started my own blog to give voice to what I was seeing.

Through Diane I found a community of likeminded people. I found other teachers on social media who were standing up for their students and communities. I found the Badass Teachers Association and joined and acted and was invited into leadership. We all loved Diane Ravitch and apparently she loved us, too. She became a member, herself, and encouraged us to keep fighting.

Then with Anthony Cody she started the Network for Public Education where even more educators from around the country joined forces. I went to the second annual conference in Chicago and got to meet her in person.

I’ll never forget it. There were hundreds of people gathered together, and she was just standing in the hall talking with a small group. I said to myself, “Oh my God! That’s Diane Ravitch! She’s right there! I could go up and talk to her!”

I looked around and everyone else standing with me had the same look like we’d all been thinking the same thing. Somehow I mustered the courage to walk up to her.

They say you should never meet your idols, but I’m infinitely thankful I didn’t listen to that advice. Diane was eminently approachable. Here I found that same voice I had read so many times, but also a generosity and a goodwill you couldn’t get from the page alone.

She knew who I was, had read my blog and asked me to send her more of my writing. I couldn’t believe it. I thought she was just being polite, but she gave me her email address. I sent her a few articles and she published them on her own site.

Since that day I’ve talked with Diane a few times and she’s always the same. Her intelligence is combined with a boundless empathy and insatiable curiosity about people and ideas. She really cares to know you, to hear your story and to help if she can.

When I had a heart attack about a month ago, she sent me an email telling me to take care of myself. She suggested I change my diet and exercise before confiding that she was having trouble doing this, herself.

Who does that? I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’ve read authors before and maybe written to them, maybe even had them write back. But I’ve never met someone like her who’s actually cared enough to relate to me as an equal, as someone who is important enough to be taken seriously.

In the media, talking heads will sometimes criticize her for changing her mind, because she did do an about face. She had once been Assistance Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush where she advocated for standardized testing and the corporate model in education. But when she saw what that really meant, she changed her mind.

To the media, that’s a defect, but to me, it’s a strength. It’s how we learn. We come up with a theory, we test it and if it doesn’t work, we come up with another one. Her philosophy of education is a response to the real world.

That’s what teachers do everyday. We try to reach our students one way and if that doesn’t work, we try something else.

Perhaps that’s really why so many educators have embraced her. She’s like us – a passionate, compassionate empiricist.

I can’t say enough good things about her. I can’t put into words how important Diane Ravitch is to my life. Her ideas changed me. Her ethics invigorated me. Her friendship humbles me.

I’d love to be there this weekend to say all this to her, but I really don’t need to make the trip. Diane Ravitch is always with me. She is in my heart every day.

I love you, Diane.

How Far We Have Come Fighting Against the Testocracy: Network for Public Education Conference Ramblings

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Kelly Ann Braun said it best.

 

“Do you remember three years ago when I said this would all be over in 6 months?”

 

And we all laughed. Me the loudest, because back then I had thought the same darn thing.

 

Corporate education reform is on its last legs. Once we tell people about the terrible mistakes of standardized testing and Common Core, it will all be over in an election cycle or two.

 

Kelly, that incredibly dedicated member of the Badass Teachers Association (BATs) from Ohio, hadn’t been the only one.

 

It seemed so reasonable back then. Once it became common knowledge, our leaders couldn’t keep perpetuating policies that harm our children, we thought.

 

No one would actually continue to stomp on the futures of our little kids once we’d pointed out that that was what they were actually doing! Right?

 

Now the Network for Public Education is having its third annual conference – this one in troubled Raleigh, North Carolina. And far from being on its last legs, the testocracy is mightier than ever with a new federal education policy, the Every Student Succeeds Act, rebranding and refreshing its same horrific disdain for the young.

 

But that’s not really news, is it?

 

The powerful have always tried to find ways to keep the poor and minorities under heel. It’s a struggle as old as civilization, itself.

 

What’s new is us.

 

Yes, us – the ragtag band of rebels and revolutionaries who gather together every year to celebrate our victories, lament our losses and plan for the future.

 

This is a real community – stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced. During the year we all have our separate support systems, be they Badass Teachers, United Opt Out, our teachers unions, our communities or – for many of us – some unique combination.

 

But once a year we all come together from our separate corners of the country (and in some cases beyond) to commune, to gather strength from each other so we can carry on the fight.

 

I cannot express to you the power and the glory I got this morning listening to Chicago parent activist Rousemary Vega talking about the pain of losing her children’s community school. This is still a raw wound for her, gushing blood. One moment she was heartbreaking sorrow; the next she was frightening strength and determination.

 

She told us how to learn from her example, how to put up a fight, how to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to ever do this again. And when she was done and I had dried the tears that she had somehow cried with my eyes, I found that I had a tiny Rousemary inside my heart. I will never forget her story. I hope I can call on even a fraction of her strength.

 

Later I sat in on a conference about Competency Based Education. Two of the founders of United Opt Out, Denisha Jones and Morna Mcdermott, gave the best presentation on the topic I have yet heard.

 

This is the future of standardized testing. It goes something like this: you don’t want a big high stakes test at the end of the school year? Okay. How about we sit your kids in front of a computer all day, everyday, and they can take endless high stakes mini-tests?

 

Morna would keep apologizing that what she was saying sounded too far-fetched to be true, but then she’d prove its veracity. Subsequently, Denisha explained how proponents of this new educational scheme had slipped this all under our noses by redefining and co-opting language we all thought we knew. You want “individualized” education? Fine! Kids can sit by themselves as individuals and take these standardized test snippets – in perpetuity.

 

I left them with a much clearer understanding of how this was happening and exactly what kind of push back is necessary.

 

Perhaps most inspiring so far though was the keynote address by the Rev. William Barber, president of North Carolina’s NAACP and organizer of Moral Mondays. He put the whole fight in perspective.

 

History, philosophy, economics, religion all mixed together into a picture that would have been grim if he hadn’t made it so beautiful. Our children are being harmed by the standardization and privatization of public education. The ones hurt the most are those who are poor and minorities, but that doesn’t make them any less “our” children.

 

This fight can’t just be about your school and your child. We have to love and care about all children and all schools. Only then can we really have a public school system worthy of the next generation.

 

Finally, the moment came when I couldn’t just sit in the audience and passively take all this in. I was actually on the program – I was part of a bloggers panel!

 

It was called “Blogging and Other Tools to Educate, Persuade and Mobilize Targeted Audiences.” It featured the amazing talents of Julian Vasquez Heilig, Susan DeFresne, Dora Taylor, Anthony Cody, Jonathan Pelto and – somehow – me!

 

It was the first time I had presented anything at one of these conferences. Sure I’m in front of my students every day, but this was a room full of adults, many with PhDs or more, who really know what they are talking about.

 

I had agonized over what I was going to say, wrote out a few remarks and then was told by fellow BAT and activist Gus Morales that I shouldn’t read it. I should just go with the moment. That’s what he says he did during his TWO TED Talks!

 

I practiced. I tried it his way, but I just couldn’t make it work. So when my time came, I compromised. I talked off the cuff when I could and then returned to the script when I couldn’t.

 

It seemed to work. I got laughs. I got applause. It looks like no one noticed how utterly terrified I was. (Sh! Our secret.)

 

And so another year’s worth of inspiration has ended – all stuffed into that first day.

 

We’re a different group than we were last year. We’re more somber, perhaps. Maybe a bit more seasoned, more knowledgeable.

 

There’s a sadness that society hasn’t joined us to crush those who would harm our children. But there’s also a renewed commitment to the struggle. A feeling of our place in history.

 

We hear the marching feet of those who came before. We see their pale upturned faces, their sad smiles. And somewhere in the distance that may be the sound of our own children marching in our footsteps continuing this same fight.

 

We will have victories. We may end high stakes testing. We may abolish Common Core. But we may never see the promised land.

 

One day perhaps our children will get there. And the only thing we have to propel them to that place is our love and activism.

 

At the Network for Public Education, you begin to realize these are really the same thing.

 

 

 

High Stakes Testing Holds The Most Powerful the Least Accountable

 High Stakes Testing Does Not Hold Schools Accountable. It Ensures That Those Most Responsible Escape Accountability

 

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People should be accountable for their actions.

 

If you make a mess, you should have to clean it up. If you decide how things run, you should be responsible if it fails.

 

So why do we allow those most responsible for our public school system to escape from accountability? Why do we instead blame everything on teachers and students?

 

Public school policy at the federal, state and local level has been dominated by high stakes testing for the last 15 years. It has not improved educational outcomes for students. In fact, just the opposite. But we are doing NOTHING to change it.

 

It’s called test and punish. We give students standardized tests and if enough of them fail over time, we close their schools and/or fire their teachers. We force them to move to a new school or a charter school where they continue to struggle without a single additional resource to help them succeed.

 

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) installed most of these policies in 2001. This year we revised the federal law that governs K-12 schools into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It does little more than continue these same policies while rearranging the deck chairs on our sinking system.

 

Kids aren’t failing because they’re lazy or dumb. Their teachers aren’t shirking their duties. Instead we have a nationwide epidemic of child poverty. And the effects of that lifestyle make it extremely hard to achieve academically. Kids aren’t focused on book learning when they’re physically and emotionally exhausted, experiencing post-traumatic stress and undernourished.

 

Why has nothing been done to help them?

 

The answer is accountability.

 

Not real accountability. Not holding people accountable for things under their control. Not going up to the people and institutions that actually cause the errors and malfeasance. Instead we push all the blame onto teachers and students and call that “Accountability.”

 

Make no mistake. When politicians and policymakers talk about “accountability” this is what they mean – scapegoating educators and children for things well beyond their control.

 

An education system is made up of a complex interplay of several interconnected factors that include parents, the community, the economy, culture, media, and local, state and federal governments. Students and teachers are only two such factors.

 

High stakes testing ensures that ONLY teachers and students are held accountable. They are responsible for the entire education system but have control of very little of it.

 

For instance, do students and teachers decide how much funding their schools get? No.

 

Do students and teachers decide which education policies are enacted? No.

 

So why are they being held responsible for these things?

 

When schools without adequate funding can’t provide the necessary resources for students to succeed, we pretend like it’s the teachers and students fault. When academic policies handed down by non-educators fail to help kids learn, we pretend like it’s the students and teachers fault.

It’s not.

 

 

As New York University Education Professor Pedro Noguera said:

 

“We’ve designed an accountability system that holds those with the most power the least accountable. The governors are not accountable, the state legislature is not accountable… You can’t hold kids and teachers accountable and not hold the people in control in the first place.”

 

 

It’s not a difficult concept – we test the kids and punish the teachers if they fail. And since the focus is firmly on only those two factors, all others become invisible. No one’s holding lawmakers accountable for providing equitable funding. No one’s holding policymakers and think tanks accountable for forcing inadequate and untested Common Core academic standards down our throats. No one’s holding billionaire philanthropists accountable for using our schools as their private playgrounds for whatever social engineering scheme they thought up in the Jacuzzi. No one’s holding privately run charter schools accountable for – just about anything – instead of letting them operate behind a curtain of deniability and unending profit.

 

 

This would be impossible without standardized testing. It frames the question. It defines the debate. It assumes that only teachers and students are relevant. Therefore, it ensures that none of the obscured factors will have to do anything to help the system improve. And so it ensures that our education system will fail many of our students – especially those most in need.

 

This is the irony of modern education policy. The apparatus that allegedly ensures accountability makes that very thing impossible.

 

That’s how the system is designed. And policymakers are terrified you’ll notice. So they have developed a scapegoat for their own failures – the public school teacher.

 

Students may score badly – and they’ll have to pay for that when their school is closed or charterized as a result – but it is the teachers who are the true enemy. After all, if teachers did a better job, pundits claim, students wouldn’t fail.

 

The idea goes like this:

 

Children won’t learn unless we force teachers to educate them.

 

Teachers don’t get into that profession because they care about children. They just want an easy job with summers off where they don’t have much to do but collect huge salaries.

 

This is the great lie, the diversion, smoke and mirrors to get you to stop paying attention to lawmakers, policy wonks, environmental and other factors. Instead look only to those lazy/evil teachers and their satanic labor unions.

 

THAT’S why they say we need standardized testing!

 

If we remove the testing, they say, no one will be responsible for making sure kids learn. After all, why would teachers teach unless we threaten their jobs first?

 

As if teachers can heroically control all the factors involved in student learning. (Spoiler alert: they can’t.) As if teachers get into their profession because they don’t want to practice it. (Spoiler alert: teachers become teachers because they want to teach!) As if earning a middle class income for providing a valuable societal resource were unreasonable. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t.) As if due process meant you can’t be fired for cause. (Spoiler alert: unionized teachers are fired for cause every day.) As if teachers were paid for summers off. (Spoiler alert: they aren’t though some have their salaries earned during 9 months paid out over 12.)

 

If we really wanted to improve public education, we’d look at ALL the factors involved. We’d throw back the assumptions that have mired us in this quagmire.

 

And the first assumption that has to go is that standardized testing is a valuable assessment tool.

 

Standardized tests are terrible assessments. We’ve known that for almost a century. Invariably they narrow the curriculum. They suck up countless hours of class time that could be better spent. They measure more the circumstances kids live in than any academic ability. They’re culturally, racially and economically biased.

 

But we keep giving them with no end in sight – not because they make teachers do a better job, but because they give cover to those actually responsible for harming our children’s education.

 

There is such a thing as accountability without standardized tests. It is possible to examine all the factors involved and make changes accordingly.

 

We can, for instance, make sure all schools receive the same basic services. We can make sure all classrooms are equipped with up-to-date books, materials, desks, etc. We can make sure no schools go without heat, have crumbling infrastructure and/or suffer from infestation of vermin, mold and filth. We can make sure all children have access to healthy food. We can make sure no children are drinking water poisoned with lead.

 

We can look at parental involvement. An overwhelming amount of research shows this is vital to academic success, but in our poorest neighborhoods parents are often the least involved in their children’s schooling. Why is that? Many of them are working three or more minimum wage jobs just to feed and clothe their children. There’s little time to help with homework when you’re working the night shift. So countermeasures such as raising the minimum wage and increasing the frequency, access and training for well-paying jobs would actually improve education as well as the economy.

 

We can look at school climate. What are the rates of suspensions and expulsions? What are the root causes? How can we improve student discipline without being overly punitive? How can we increase student engagement? How do we improve student attendance and graduation rates?

 

We can update our broken system of student assessment. This may come as a surprise to our policymakers, but there are many ways to assess student learning that have nothing to do with standardized tests. For example, we can institute performance or portfolio-based assessments. Instead of evaluating students based on a snapshot of their performance on a given day or week, we can base it on a grading period or even an entire school year. Assessments can include projects, individual and group presentations, reports and papers and portfolios of work collected over time. You don’t have to be an education expert to realize these would be better measurements of academic achievement than multiple choice tests – BUT IT HELPS! And we can do this without resorting to stealth assessments like competency based education.

 

Does this mean that teachers should escape accountability? Absolutely not. But we can ensure they’re evaluated fairly. Don’t judge them based on factors beyond their control. Judge them based on what they actually do. As the old adage goes, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Evaluate teachers on whether they’ve brought their little ponies to water. Did they engage in best practices? Are they engaged in professional development? How do they treat their students? Are they grading fairly? In almost every profession, workers are evaluated based on observation from their superiors. Teaching should be no different.

 

It’s shocking that no one on the national stage is talking about this. Pundits and policymakers shake their heads at standardized test scores, they point their fingers and cry crocodile tears for the children. But hardly anyone is doing a thing to make positive change.

 

Our schools have been transformed into factories. We’ve let them become resegregated based on race and wealth. We’ve let the rich schools get Cadillac funding while the poor ones struggle to survive on the leftovers. We’ve let non-educators set the standards and curriculum. We’ve let the testing industry co-opt and bribe our lawmakers and social institutions. We’ve opened the door wide for privitizers to steal as much of the shrinking funding pie as possible and funnel it into their own bank accounts without producing any quality for the students they’re supposed to be serving.

 

In short, we’ve let those responsible for setting our public schools aflame get away scot-free!

 

They’re laughing all the way to the bank. And the tool that lets them get away with it is standardized testing.

 

Throw back the curtain and show them for what they truly are.

 

Fight back. Refuse the tests for your children. Join the Badass Teachers Association, United Opt Out and the Network for Public Education. Write your legislators. Write to the newspapers. Take to the streets. Make some noise.

 

Hold them accountable.

Dr. Jill Stein is the Best 2016 Presidential Candidate, But Can She Win?

 

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In 2008, I shook Barack Obama’s hand.

 

Yesterday Dr. Jill Stein gave me a hug.

 

Eight years ago, I was so inspired by Obama’s campaign speech in my hometown of Pittsburgh that I rushed forward along with the crowd to grab his hand. It was soft but firm with a tinge of moisturizer. Now I look at his incredibly regressive education policies and feel the need to scrub my palm.

 

This weekend in Philadelphia, I was at the United Opt Out Conference and saw Stein sitting in the audience.

 

I walked past the Green Party Presidential candidate the first time thinking I must be mistaken. Then her name tag removed all doubt.

 

“You’re Jill Stein!” I stuttered.

 

She smiled warmly, stood up and said, “You’re Steven Singer!”

 

I want to believe she knew who I was, but I was wearing a name tag, too.

 

We talked for a moment about what most of us were here for – education policy. She reaffirmed that she wanted to end all high stakes testing and school privatization.

 

Think of it – a presidential candidate speaking in specifics. Not “We test too much.” Not “Some charter schools are bad.” But I want to end these two perverse school policies!

 

And to top it all off, before she hurried off to tidy up as the time approached for her campaign speech, she game me a warm, tight hug.

 

Compare that to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

 

As part of the Badass Teachers Association, we reached out to all the Democratic and Republican candidates on these exact same issues. The Republicans ignored us entirely, but both Democrats gave us phone calls by campaign aides.

 

Even then, the Democratic response was far from convivial. It mostly came down to something like “Education is important.” Well, duh.

 

In Sanders’ case, we had to conduct an impromptu sit-in at the Senator’s Washington office before anyone would talk to us about policy. And Hillary only started to speak in measured tones about public schools after our national teachers unions voted to endorse her – well, the leaders of those unions voted. No one ever really asked us, rank-and-file.

 

Moreover, when Sanders voted for the horrible Murphy Amendment of what became the Every Child Succeeds Act, several teachers including myself wrote him an open letter asking him to explain his apparent support for a Test and Punish education provision. One of his aides sent us a replysome nonsense about accountability.

 

And Jill Stein just gave me a hug.

The difference is huge!

 

When activists were holding this conference centering on the movement to Opt Out of Standardized testing, Sanders and Clinton didn’t even send campaign literature. Stein came in person and even gave a keynote address!

 

Don’t get me wrong. Hillary is far preferable to any Republican candidate seeking the office. I just wish her Presidential bid wasn’t funded by the very people we’re fighting against.

 

I love Bernie, too. I’ve even got the t-shirt to prove it. I just wish he loved us as much by throwing out a few more specifics. The general thrust of his campaign seems tailor-made to support test resistance and a fight against corporate education reform, but he rarely connects the dots with anything that we could hold him accountable for saying.

 

And then you have Stein, perhaps the most human politician I’ve ever met.

 

One look at her platform and it’s obvious she’s the best candidate for President in 2016. But is she electable?

 

Think about that for a moment.

 

What does it say about our country?

 

Design an excellent platform that benefits the most people, organize a movement to get your message out there, draw on the experience of experts in various fields… and you’re an incredible long shot to win the office.

 

The media says the same thing about Sanders as he speaks to overcapacity crowds and struggles against party politics seemingly written to hobble any populist campaign like his.

 

Yet Stein has no giant crowds. She has no adoring fans, no comedian on Saturday Night Live giving her friendly jibes.

 

She’s almost completely ignored by the media. Yet her actual policies make even a progressive like Sanders look like… well… Hillary Clinton!

 

For instance, Sanders wants to make college free to everyone. Stein wants to do that, too, AND erase all existing student debt.

 

Sanders is (kind of) against for-profit charter schools but has been vaguely supportive of Test and Punish school accountability practices. Stein is unequivocally against all forms of school privatization and high stakes standardized testing.

 

Sanders wants single-payer healthcare paid for by raising taxes (but net savings over all). Stein wants single-payer healthcare paid for by cutting our bloated military budget with no raise in taxes.

 

In fact, while Sanders is against unnecessary military action and an increase in military spending, he is in favor of keeping the $1 trillion military budget mostly intact. Stein wants to cut it by 50%, stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, stop giving weapons to Israel, freeze terrorist-funder’s bank accounts, end the War on Terror and engage in a policy of peace.

 

Moreover, Stein wants the savings from slashing our biggest federal expenditure to be used to fund a New Green Deal, creating full employment and a living wage all while transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2030!

 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but all of Stein’s policies sound rather sane and measured. Yet she is the one the media labels a radical and out-of-touch – if they talk about her at all.

 

It’s a testament to how perverted our politics have become: Sanity looks like the exact opposite. Logic and intelligence are revolutionary concepts.

 

And only the activists and intellectuals seem to know this is happening.

 

When Stein was done speaking, someone asked her the inevitable question about Ralph Nader. Wouldn’t casting a ballot for her just divide the Democratic vote and give the race to the Republicans as it did in 2000?

 

Her response was a bit evasive – the only time, in fact, where she seemed a bit uncomfortable.

 

She said that Nader wasn’t a member of the Green Party, where she is. She is engaged in building the party and the movement even beyond 2016.

 

On the one hand, it sounded like she was suggesting that even if she loses, it will bring real progressive issues into the limelight. However, this is not what happened when Nader lost as a third party candidate against Bush and Gore.

 

On the other hand, she stressed that she actually could win. About 43 million people are trapped by student debt, which she wants to unilaterally eliminate, she said. That’s a large enough chunk of the population that if they all voted for her, she would win.

 

It’s time for a Hail Mary moment, she said. We have to take a chance to vote for the best policies and not continue to compromise by supporting the lesser evil. Concession is the road to what we have now – continued oligarchy and global hegemony.

 

We need a functioning world for our children. If we don’t do something about Climate Change, the Earth may not be habitable in as little as five decades.

 

It’s now or never, she said.

 

I offer all this not as an endorsement of Stein. Nor of Sanders or Clinton (though seriously stay away from the Republicans, they’re freaking crazy).

 

I offer this only as food for thought.

 

Stein is offering us the best platform, bar none. But can we afford to vote for her? Can we afford not to?

Who’s Your Favorite Gadfly? Top 10 Blog Posts (By Me) That Enlightened, Entertained and Enraged in 2015

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“Pennsylvania educator and public school advocate Steven Singer is one of the most powerful voices in the nation when it comes to speaking out for students, parents, teachers and our public schools.”
Jonathan Pelto, founder of the Education Bloggers Network

 

 

“Steven Singer wrote these five terrific posts last year. I didn’t see them when they appeared. Probably you didn’t either. You should.”
Diane Ravitch, education historian

 

“Your name should be Sweet Steven Singer. You are a delight.”
Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union

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Hello. My name is Steven Singer, and I am a gadfly.

I make no apologies for that. It’s what I set out to do when I started this blog in July of 2014.

I told myself that people were too complacent. There was no curiosity. People were too darn sure about things – especially education policy and social issues.

They knew, for instance, that standardized testing was good for children. Why? Because Obama said so. And he’s such a nice man. It’s too bad all those mean Republicans keep making him do all this bad stuff.

They also knew racism was over. After all… Obama! Right? Black President, therefore, the hundreds of years of struggle – finished! Move along. Nothing to see here.

Yet all this “knowledge” went against everything I saw daily as a public school teacher.

Standardized tests are good for children? Tell that to more than half of public school kids now living below the poverty line who don’t have the same resources as middle class or wealthy kids yet are expected to magically ace their assessments. Tell that to the kids who get hives, get sick, or throw up on test day. Tell it to the black and brown students who for some unexplainable reason almost always score lower than their white peers.

Racism is over? Tell that to all my minority students who are afraid to walk home from school because they might get followed, jumped, beaten or killed… by the police! Tell it to their parents who can’t get a home loan and have to move from one rental property to another. Tell it to the advertising executives and marketing gurus who shower my kids with images of successful white people and only represent them as criminals, thugs, athletes or rappers.

So when I started this blog, I consciously set out to piss people off. But with a purpose. To quote the original historical gadfly, Socrates, my role is, “to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.” It seems well suited to a school teacher. After all, Socrates was accused of “corruption of the youth.”

It’s been quite a year. When I went to the Network for Public Education conference in Chicago last April, some folks actually seemed to know who I was. “Don’t you write that Gadfly blog?” was a common question.

When I met NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT President Randi Weingarten, they both said, “I read your blog.” And then they looked me up and down suspiciously as if they were thinking, “THIS is the guy who writes all that stuff!? THIS is the guy giving me such a hard time!?”

Of course, I am human, too. One can’t sting and bite every day. Sometimes the things I write are met with love and approbation. Some weeks even Lily and Randi like me. Sometimes.

Education historian Diane Ravitch has given me tremendous moral support. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to have one of your heroes appreciate your work! Her book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” really woke me up as a new teacher. I’m also on the steering committee of the Badass Teachers Association, an organization that has changed my life for the better. The more than 56,000 people  there are my support. I would never have had the courage to start a blog or do half of the crazy things I do without their love and encouragement.

And there are so many more people I could thank: my fellow bloggers Jonathan Pelto, Peter Greene, Russ Walsh, Nancy Flanagan, Mitchell Robinson, and Yohuru Williams. Also the good people at the LA Progressive and Commondreams.org. The incredible and tireless radio host Rick Smith.

There are just too many to name. But no list of acknowledgment would be even close to completion without mentioning my most important supporter – you, my readers. Whether you’re one of the 9,190 people who get every new post delivered by email or if you otherwise contribute to the 486,000 hits my site has received so far, THANK YOU.

So in celebration of my first full year of blogging, I present to you an end of the year tradition – a Top 10 list. Out of the 90 posts I wrote in 2015, these are the ones that got the most attention. Often they incensed people into a fury. Sometimes they melted hearts. I just hope – whether you ended up agreeing with me or not – these posts made you think.

Feel free to share with family, friends, co-workers, etc. After all, I’m an equal opportunity gadfly. I always cherish the chance to buzz around a few new heads!


 

10) The Democrats May Have Just Aligned Themselves With Test and Punish – We Are Doomed

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Published: July 17, 2015
Views: 7,122

Description: It hit me like a slap in the face that almost all Senate Democrats voted to make the reauthorization of the federal law governing K-12 public schools a direct continuation of the same failing policies of the Bush and Obama years. Heroes like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren seemed to be turning their back on teachers, parents and school children. And they were stopped in their efforts by… Republicans!

Fun Fact: This story had some legs. It inspired a bunch of education advocates like myself who are also Bernie Sanders supporters to write the candidate an open letter asking him to explain his vote. His campaign eventually responded that it was about accountability!?


 

9) Punching Teachers in the Face – New Low in Presidential Politics

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Published: Aug. 3
Views: 14,735

Description: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie thought he’d run for the Republican nomination for President. He thought threatening to metaphorically punch teachers unions in the face would get him votes. It didn’t.

Fun Fact: This new low in Presidential politics came just after Donald Trump had announced he was running. Christie’s new low now seems almost quaint after Trump’s calls to tag all Muslims and monitor their Mosques. How innocent we were back in… August.


 

8) This Article May Be Illegal – Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing

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Published: April 18
Views: 15,818

Description: Teachers and students may be legally restrained from telling you what’s on federally mandated standardized tests, but we’re not restrained from telling you THAT we’re restrained. Is this just protecting intellectual property or direct legal intimidation of educators and children?

Fun Fact: I have not yet been arrested for writing this piece.


 

7) Stories about Teachers Union Endorsements of Hillary Clinton

Did the AFT Rank and File REALLY Endorse Hillary Clinton for President? If So, Release the Raw Data

(July 12 – 4,448 hits)

 

The NEA May Be About to Endorse Hillary Clinton Without Input From Majority of Members

(Sept. 21 – 3,873 hits)

A Handful of NEA Leaders Have Taken Another Step Toward Endorsing Hillary Clinton Despite Member Outcry

(Oct. 2 – 739 hits)

Teachers Told They’re Endorsing Hillary Clinton by NEA Leadership, Member Opinions Unnecessary

(Oct. 4 – 7,074 hits)

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Published: July 12 – Oct. 4
Views: 16,134 TOTAL

Description: You expect your union to have your back. Unfortunately it seems our teachers unions were more interested in telling us who we’d be endorsing than asking us who the organizations representing us should endorse.

Fun Fact: I broke this story pretty much nationwide. News organizations like Politico were calling me to find out the scoop.


6) Why We Should Have ZERO Standardized Tests in Public Schools

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Published: Jan. 30
Views: 16,443

Description: Someone had to say it. We don’t need any standardized tests. We need teacher-created tests. And that’s not nearly as crazy as some people think.

Fun Fact: This was written back when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was being rewritten and naïve fools like me thought we might actually get a reduction in high stakes testing. Spoiler alert: we didn’t.


 

5) Atlanta Teacher RICO Conviction is Blood Sacrifice to the Testocracy

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Published: April 3
Views: 18,187

Description: There is something terribly wrong when we’re using laws created to stop organized crime as a means to convict  teachers cheating on standardized tests. I’m not saying cheating is right, but the mafia kills people. These were just teachers trying to keep their jobs in a system that rewards results and refuses to balance the scales, listen to research or the opinions of anyone not in the pockets of the testing and privatization industries.

Fun Fact: Watching all those seasons of “The Wire” finally came in handy.


4) Not My Daughter – One Dad’s Journey to Protect His Little Girl From Toxic Testing

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Published: March 20
Views: 26,420

Description: How I went to my daughter’s school and demanded she not be subjected to high stakes testing in Kindergarten.

Fun Fact: They were very nice and did everything I asked. If you haven’t already, you should try it!


 

3) I Am Racist and (If You’re White) You Probably Are, Too

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Published: June 2
Views: 28,906

Description: White folks often can’t see white privilege. This is my attempt to slap some sense into all of us. If you benefit from the system, you’re responsible to change it.

Fun Fact: Oh! The hate mail! I still get it almost every day! But I regret nothing! A black friend told me I was brave to write this. I disagreed. Anytime I want I can hide behind my complexion. She can’t.


2) I Am A Public School Teacher. Give Me All the Refugees You’ve Got

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Published: Nov. 19
Views: 45,196

Description: Our public schools are already places of refuge for our nation’s school children. Send me more. I’ll take them all. I’d rather they end up in my classroom than drowned by the side of a river.

Fun Fact: I got equal love and hate for this one. Some folks were afraid of terrorists. Others didn’t think we could afford it. But many told me my heart was in the right place. Lily and the folks at the NEA were especially supportive.


 

1) White People Need to Stop Snickering at Black Names

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Published: Sept. 6
Views: 96,351

Description: Maybe we should stop laughing at black people’s names. Maybe we should try to understand why they are sometimes different.

Fun Fact: You’d have thought I threatened some people’s lives with this one! How dare I suggest people should stop mocking other people’s names! If you want to know how strong white fragility is in our country, read some of the comments! But many people thanked me for bringing up something that had bothered them for years but that they had been too polite to talk about, themselves. This is easily my most popular piece yet.

 

Rick Smith – Smuggling Teachers Voices Through the Media Embargo

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I met Rick Smith for the first time in person this summer in Washington, D.C.

He had traveled to our nation’s capital to cover the Badass Teachers Association (BATs) Congress of which I was a member. Though I’d seen pictures and videos of him and even been on his daily radio show a handful of times, I was surprised to see him standing there in the lobby. He looked exactly like his pictures.

Often when you meet someone like that in the flesh, you get a glimpse behind the mask at how much the persona differs from the person. For example, when I was a journalist and interviewed Marvin Hamlisch, he was much more the cranky old man than the consummate showman.

But Rick was just… Rick. Faded denim, golf shirt, tousled hair under a ball cap.

He treated me to breakfast in the hotel restaurant and we talked about politics, activism and education. In a way it was like being on his show except there was no audience. Maybe he didn’t speak as loud and didn’t feel the need to explain the background of a subject for listeners at home, no station identification, but other than that it was pretty much the same.

He’s the real deal. What you see – or usually hear – is what you get.

I remember thanking him for trucking all the way from northern Pennsylvania to be here with us. He wasn’t getting anything extra for this. We certainly didn’t have any money to pay him. Rick was actually interested in hearing what teachers like me had to say.

We had congregated here in the capital to lobby our lawmakers and discuss among ourselves how to change our national education policy into something more student centered and less privatized, corporatized and standardized. And Rick wanted to showcase it on his show. He wanted to be there, to see what we were doing, ask us questions and put it all on the air for listeners across the country.

And – of course – he bought me breakfast.

As I was making my way through a waffle, Rick dropped the bomb on me.

He wanted to know if there was more to this story – if there was enough information for a weekly radio segment.

I carefully swallowed and told him that there was.

We’re living at a time when what’s best for school children isn’t decided by parents or educators. It’s decided by lawmakers, policy wonks, billionaire philanthropists and corporate CEOs with oodles of cash to bribe others to see things their way. Teachers, parents and students are taking to the streets to protest high stakes standardized tests, Common Core, value-added evaluations, charter schools, Teach for America and a host of other corporate education reform policies.

But few in the media seem to be listening.

In the last year, only nine percent of guests discussing education on evening cable news were educators. Yet tech millionaires attempts to dismantle teacher tenure are championed by the likes of Time Magazine. Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown creates a so-called “non-partisan” news site to cheerlead privatization and demonize teachers. At the Republican Presidential debates, candidates fall over each other for the chance to “punch teachers in the face,” while the Democratic Presidential candidates have zero to say about K-12 schools.

And here’s a guy with his own radio show and podcast who is actually interested in what educators think!

We shook hands, made plans and another trip to the buffet.

Now it’s been a little more than two months since the “BATs Radio – This Week in Education” segment premiered. Every week – usually airing Mondays at 5 p.m. Eastern – Rick has two guests chosen by the BATs. And wow! Have we had some amazing interviews!

When the National Education Association (NEA) made the controversial move to endorse Hillary Clinton despite a lack of member outreach, we had history teacher and NEA Board of Directors member Tripp Jeffers on the show. Before the vote, Tripp asked Clinton about her ties to corporate education reformers.

We had New York teacher and Co-Director of BATs Action Committee Michael Flanagan on to talk first hand about what a dismal job our new US Secretary of Education John King had done as Chancellor of New York State Education.

New Orleans parent Karran Harper Royal explained how the Obama administration’s privatization scheme has systematically destroyed public schools in the Big Easy. Wayne Au talked about what it was like to be one of the appellants in the Washington State Supreme Court Case that found charter schools to be unconstitutional. New York parent Karen Sprowal described how the Success Academy charter school had trampled her child’s rights. Jeanette Taylor-Ramann explained what pushed her and several other Chicago parents and teachers to go on a hunger strike to save their last neighborhood school. Puerto Rican teachers union president Mercedes Martinez informed us of the massive island revolt against privatizers in our US territory.

And more and more and more! And it’s only been 8 weeks!

I am so thankful to Rick for making this a reality. Teacher, parent and student voices are getting through the media embargo. We’re being heard. It’s unfiltered news! It’s what’s happening at street level.

This wouldn’t be getting out there so prominently if Rick weren’t interested, if he didn’t think it was something his listeners were interested in hearing. He gives up a significant chunk of his weekends to do it. He gives up time with his family, his children, to bring this to the public.

I can’t express how much that means to me and the more than 56,000 members of BATs.

I remember thanking Rick at the end of that first breakfast meeting and I’ll never forget what he said.

“This is what we do, Steven,” he said. “We’re activists first.”

That’s why Rick Smith is a true progressive hero.


NOTE:

You can hear the BATs Radio – This Week in Education segment most Mondays at 5 p.m. Eastern on the Rick Smith Show. The entire progressive talk show airs weekdays from 3 – 6 p.m. on several radio stations and on-line.

All BATs Radio interviews are archived here in case you missed them.

There are also a plethora of fascinating interviews from the BAT Congress on the Rick Smith Show Website.

This article also was published on the Badass Teachers Association blog.

Teach for America Deletes Educator Counter-Narratives; Educators Repost EVERY SINGLE ONE!

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On Sept. 23, Teach for America (TFA) published an article on its Website about the “Badass Women of Teach for America.”

Many of the more than 56,000 members of the Badass Teachers Association (BATS) commented on this article.

A few days later, all comments were deleted and the ability to make any additional comments was disabled. TFA then published two additional articles about the comments BATS had made. The authors of these new articles then attempted to debunk what had been written about them but was too dangerous to be left for their readers to see for themselves.

The counter-narratives of hundreds of people had been erased. But as any good public school teacher will tell you – nothing that is posted on the Internet is ever lost.

Below is every comment made on the original TFA article.

And, yes, I mean –

EVERY. SINGLE. COMMENT.


COMMENTS:

Badass Teachers don’t Teach For Awhile, they earn valid
credentials and commit their lives to public service. They speak
out against sham operations like TFA that pretend to have the
neediest of children at heart, but which really deprive them of
skilled professional guidance. I earned my M.Ed degree in 1990,
the year TFA crawled out of a dark hole…how many TFAers who
began that year remain as active educators? Badass is as badass
does.
David Sudmeier,
Redmond Middle School
WA State Badass Teachers


Bad? Yes! Badass? Definitely not! While there are a few
exceptions, TFA sends “teachers” into classrooms completely ill
prepared for the realities of teaching. MANY quit before the end
of the year. Few make it more than 2 years. They are
disillusioned, overwhelmed, ineffective, and soon become very
angry about the propaganda that landed them in the horrible
situation they find themselves in.
JD


If TFA wants to stop the bashing — why not actually try and
improve your program rather than airily dismiss the criticisms? I
am a professor who regularly seeing her students hired for TFA –
and trust me — these kids that go on to TFA are not ready to
teach anybody anything. They are totally clueless and have no
idea about the outside world other than academia and upper
middle class suburbia. These are kids who have spent the past
four years grade grubbing and cheerleading and organizing frat
parties. They all say very clearly that they do this to get into law
school. And then they are expected to actually teach other
human beings on a daily basis? Hey TFA — why not put your
teachers in white middle class school districts and see what the
response would be. I’m pretty sure it would be negative. Why? No
one wants a 23 year old with no life experience other than
running sorority rush to teach their kids in second grade.
Alana


TFA is totally NOT’ badass’. If TFA were, it would require its
recruits to take several courses, practicums, supervised trial
teachers with experienced mentors and have them take the
appropriate certification exams. Shame on you.
Robin P.


Hahahaha, tried to co-opt our skills as teachers, largely
failed(ing), now trying to co-opt our skills as activists, FAILING!
You are NOT teachers, nor badasses. True teachers stay and
make a difference! WE are teachers and badasses!
Karen Adlum


Shame on you, TFA. Badass Teachers are those with years of
training, education and experience, not some wide-eyed kids
who are given five weeks of training, brainwashed with feel-good
propaganda, and promised more money to help pay off student
loan debts.
Karen


The badasses are the teachers who stick it out instead of using
teaching as a steppingstone to a career in administration or ed.
policy. I’ve known a few TFAers who have stuck around for the
long haul, but most have left after some pretty shaky years as
fledgling educators. The former are badasses, the latter are not.
Badass Veteran


Sorry, TFA…..but you’re not badass. You use teaching as a
stepping stone; you think 5 WEEKS of training prepares you for
the classroom; you don’t support your recruits; and, worst of all,
you ENCOURAGE them to use their newfound “leadership skills”
to the detriment of children everywhere. Good work.
A trained teacher


I think maybe there is a misunderstanding. This is about kids, not
celebrating ourselves or our personal adult successes. This is
supposed to be about children and communities, especially the
marginalized and disenfranchised. I’m sorry (really) that you are
offended. We are fighting for OUR (yours too) children and this
democratic way of life. It’s impossible for someone who lacks
experience overtime to see the big picture. It just is. Veteran
teachers have that.
A Teacher


TFA is as far from BadAss as you can get. First you co-opt our
professional status with a 5 week training course of inspirational
YouTube videos, now your’re trying to co-opt the name of an
organization that exists to oppose you and all other education
deformers. Get a real teaching degree, TFA, and then we’ll talk.
Linda Meo


You have got to be kidding. You’re “bad ass” because you can
teach based on a five-week training course? You’re not qualified
to teach three-year-olds. What you are doing is trying to destroy
the public education system of this country for your own personal
profit in game for your own personal profit and gain. And for that
you should be ashamed. And don’t be surprised that we have NO
respect much less appreciation for you. Quit trying to co-op the
badass teachers association, the real BAT’s who are trying to
save publication in this country.. Being a copycat only actually
gives credit to the real organization that you’re correctly
acknowledging does an incredibly much better job than you do.
JoAnna Chocooj, BAT


Wow, I could go to school for less than one semester and be
qualified to teach? Why aren’t we doing this for medicine?
Because you could never learn enough in one summer to safely
and properly diagnos and treat patients in one summer. Why do
you devalue education so much that you think we can properly
serve our students with just a basic understanding and limited
exposure to educational and developmental theory. That’s not
badass, that’s bad practice.
SCG


Getting paid a mid six-figure salary to participate in the neoliberal
assault on public education is far from badass. Basass implies
fighting against the powers that be; TFA is embedded in the
power structures that uphold racism and growing economic
inequality. Teach For America is a central cog in the
anti-democratic, racist machine working to privatize public
education. Their influence has severely impacted the teaching
profession and worsened the educational experiences and
opportunities for our neediest students. In addition, badass
means putting yourself at risk, but these women have by and
large personally profited from their work in the education
industrial complex.

I agree with the other comments on this website. This post is an
affront to all the hard-working teachers, activists, and justice
seekers who have risked financial and even bodily harm to fight
against all that TFA stands for. I’m stealing what others have said,
“TFA is not badass, it’s just bad.”
Katie O


TFA is not helping our kids, but rather hurting our great
educational system. Assuming that someone can train for 5
weeks and then teach is a complete nonsensical idea. Kids and
schools are more complex than 5 weeks could ever train one for.
Teaching is an ART and not everyone is cut out for it, particularly
but TFA people. Shame on Wendy Kopp for doing nothing but
trying to PROFIT from our kids! This is not a fast food job. It is a
career dealing with the most precious resources we have: our
children. Go flip burgers but leave our kids alone! Shame on
these profiteers!!!
Allyson


Wow. TFA folks are far from badass. Teasing is the hardest thing
I’ve ever done and I have energy and intellect for miles. I went to
six funerals of my students last year. I teach sixth grade. I have
been at it for about 10 years. They think they’re badass for
serving to? If this piece of so-called journalism called any further
up the corporate butt hole, it would be rubbing against the uvula
of TFA itself. After all, aren’t corporations people?
John Simms


Yes, I know I said teasing instead of teaching. That’s what
happens on a Sunday morning when you are on your way
to feed a family of five. A family, I might add, is not my own.
John Simms


You know what’s really Badass? Remaining a committed teacher
in the face of tremendous adversity. This is something rarely seen
amongst the ranks of those who are working as “teachers” for
TFA.
Rebekah L


If I had known all I had to do to be badass was to study for a few
weeks and act like I knew what I was doing, I could have saved
myself a whole lot of grief, time, and money. If you REALLY cared
about the kids and not your own egos, you’d actually get an
education instead of teaching kids that it’s okay to take short cuts
as long as you’re “making difference.”
Susan G


Oh, please! The term “badass” is fitting for members of the
Badass Teachers Association. TFA is NOT badass in any way,
shape, or form. Go co-opt someone else’s movement!
APaar


Aren’t the real bad asses the children whose bodies and futures
these careers were “fueled” by? (Your word choice)
I think this is the type of op-ed that drives the people trying to do
good within TFA completely nuts. It’s is straight out of the
appropriate, self-promote and leave playbook that TFA claims to
not subscribe to.

Also the parts about TFA being more persecuted than any other
organization sound privileged as hell.
There are great stories in here. I deeply respect Packnett’s work.
But putting her next to Cunningham is really gross. This whole
framing is disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Xian


TFA is NOT “badass”. You are part of the corporate education
reform movement which Badass Teachers are fighting everyday.
You do not stand with teachers who have gone through
extensive training and have worked for years to help our children
to surmount the obstacles they face in their lives through
education provided by professionals. We are the long term
committed, tested by time and by the efforts of educational
deformers to tear down the teaching profession, public education
and community.
EGlynn


TFA stands for Teach For Awhile. Not doing our students any
good. Most TFA’s are just “warm bodies” for one or two years and
nothing more. They are teaching to pay off their loans.
Richard Martin


You are not “badass.” That label is for real teachers, who stand
with teachers. TFA are pawns for the coporate take-over of
education, most of whom never teach more than a few years to
have their loans forgiven and pad their resume. Shame.
David Topitzer


We can’t forget that our public education system was never
created to educate all children. Thus, it’s not broken; it’s doing
what it was created to do. If what activist and social critic James
Baldwin noted is true, “Education for whites is indoctrination.
Education for blacks is subjugation,” then the traditional public
system is colonial and TfA represents neo-colonialism. TfA is
entering its DNA into the education system at various levels. If
they were there to liberate my urban students, i would support
them, but since no TfA member I met (male or female) are
themselves liberated, I can’t. Wendy Kopp has no clue she’s just
got lots of social capital and money. The only purpose of the use
of “bad” in BAW by TfA is that they want to be “hip” and “cool” SO
bad.
John


I think woman achieving and being successful is great for all
women. I am curious to find out however how many TFA alum are
still teaching 5,10, and 15+ years versus how many leave
education to persue other fields. Real success for TFA will be
achieved when your great alumni continue long term the noble
profession of teaching.
K


Badass? Dumbass…….TFA needs to fold. You’re already folding
education.
Ron J


Who the hell is TFA to call themselves Badass? They are the
scabs in the education-field. They are the recipient of hedge fund
destroyers of public ed. They are the garbage that rich, mostly
white, entitled brats go to in order to move up the ladder and on
the backs of the urban and rural poor.
Myles Hoenig


Who inspires me to badass? My mother a career teacher who
didn’t receive 5 weeks of training, teach for 2 years then leave
the classroom to go to the upper echelons of your organization
to get big bucks while leaving countless children and an entire
generation with a substandard education. A career teacher who
dedicates her whole life to improving outcomes for students and
constantly educates herself to do that job better, NOW THATS
BADASS. I think you have the definition wrong.
Proud daughter


Teach for America … little more than camp counselors without the
pine trees on their shirts.

Imagine for a moment the instant promotion of butchers to
surgeons … or deck builders to bridge engineers. Imagine Cub
Scout troop leaders as military generals … or menu makers as the
next classic authors.

There’s something so odd about teaching … and it’s seldom
ending grading that snatches away your Sundays, faculty and
department meetings, parent confabs, planning, gathering things
you need and resources you want. Colleague exchanges and
innovative thinking. Blend in some school politics and the usual
work-place agita … and maybe some deep intrigue at times. Oh,
and don’t forget your family … those folks you bump into when
you’re half dressed. They want a piece of you, too.

I’m certain that five week preparation period offered by the
Teach for America leadership is gonna arm those greenhorn
teachers to the max? If that’s true, I’m only four or five hundred
practice swings from the major leagues. When do I get my
contract and uniform?

I’m not angry that people assume they can do my job. I’m
amused. You know, I’ve been thinking … wondering what I might
do when I’m done in the classroom. I think I might dabble in some
surgery … or maybe aeronautics. Looks easy from where I sit.
Pluto … here I come!
Denis Ian


Great propaganda. Read this, also http://www.alternet.org
/education/teach-america-bait-and-switch-youll-be-making- difference-youre-making-excuses
Bobbi


Excuse me. Public education teachers are badass! No one with a
5 week training period should even think about calling
themselves a badass. Unless it was a typo and you meant, Teach
for America is “bad,” for education. And anyone who uses TFA is
an ass! That I would agree too.
Paula Garfield


“It’s no accident that Teach For America has fueled the careers of
so many extraordinary women—it’s by design.”

WHAT?!?!? Use your critical thinking skills you honed in college
and think about that. The design is that you go into a
marginalized school where parents can’t or don’t know to
complain about the random (albeit book smart in another subject
besides education) unprepared person teaching their kids. And
YOU are then ‘fueled’ by and off the backs of disadvantaged
children! to then leave and become individually ‘extraordinary’ in
another career. And you admit it. You HIGHLIGHT it! You are
using these most deserving children, families and communities
for your own gain. It’s actually quite shameful. And the damage
left behind you wouldn’t know.

Teaching is about uplifting children and developing productive,
happy and empowered citizens in a democratic society for the
LONG HAUL not a spring board for some ‘badass’ career. So sad
for kids, families and our democracy actually and definitely NOT
BADASS.

Badass teachers know the depth of knowledge and experience
OVERTIME that is needed for BADASSNESS. They are committed
public servants NOT ever thinking about personal gain. Sorry,
good people, TFA is not anywhere in the realm of Badass.
A Teacher


How very typical. You claim you are teachers , after only 5 weeks
of training. Then as you ‘donate’ two years of time in the
classroom to pad your resume, you claim you are “a badass
woman”. NO! A Badass Teacher is one who has earned
credentials through 4 years of university undergrad, hones their
craft while teaching by extending their credits to include behavior
management, motivation, child development, collaborative
learning environments while likely juggling a home and a family
of their own. A real BADASS Teacher is not afraid to examine the
behind the scenes manipulations of a ‘reformer’ agenda. You are
all PAWNS – People Allowing Whiny Newbies to destroy Public
Schools. <o>
Jan


Being an underprepared instructor drone who is not committed
to the education profession or staying in the classroom and
perfecting your craft is NOT badass. It’s just bad.
Steven Singer


Is Katie Cunningham taking full responsibility for the race baiting
ad that is running in New York right now?
And, to say that these women are not self promoting when they
are in the news regularly is disingenuous at best.
NYGAL


My favorite quote ” It’s received a fair degree of attention for
organizational effectiveness” – fair is as good as marginal!!! You
are marginally correct – TFAers are Bad…case in point – you can’t
even come up with your own slogan – you have to steal it from
others…
Angela Reynolds


As an educator, I find this article insulting to my chosen
profession of 21 years!! I chose education and began teaching
after completing my B.A. in Education and my master’s degree. I
am currently working on my doctorate in Education while I am still
in the classroom! TFA teachers, I challenge you to spend more
than one or two years in a classroom. I challenge you to join a
district as a person with a degree who wants to teach, and I want
you to apply for alternative certification, a process that takes
about 2-3 years. I challenge you, as a new teacher, to join the
local teacher union, so that you can understand the importance
of banding together. I want you to explain to me how you
differentiate in a class of 27 students–where you have 12 of them
with IEPS, 2 ESOL students, and 6 students with 504s. I want to
challenge you to one year in my classroom at my high school or
ANY Title One school in our country. I want you to be there for
the football games, dances, lockdown drills, medical
emergencies, and Homecoming Spirit Weeks. I pity you, because
you will NEVER have the satisfaction of seeing the younger
siblings of families come through your classes, you will never
have the joy of celebrating school milestones, and you will never
have the respect of the community because “she left after a year
or two”. And you will never….be Badass. That takes courage and
commitment.
Cheryl Vinson


Helping to destroy the public school system does not make TFA
employees badass; it just makes them pawns for corporations
that want to turn education into a for-profit operation, to the
detriment of the students and their communities. Being used is
the polar opposite of badass—they should be embarrassed, not
proud.
Peggy ^O^


Why don’t you go establish a settlement house in a slum
somewhere instead of writing PR like this?
Splendidanomaly


As a Bad Ass Teacher(BAT), I am highly insulted as a woman that
you are naming these TFA’s Bad Ass Women. They are not the
only women juggling a Career (not a job), families and everything
else it entails. I have been doing so for the last 25 years while
battling the decimation of public education including the attack of
TFA on the teaching profession!
Cynthia Pelosi, M.S.


These are NOT teachers. Teachers are trained for more than 5
weeks. I find it insulting that TFA keeps putting these untrained
people in the classroom and calling them teachers. Teachers
have the backround and training to understand how to develop
the entire child…..not just follow a script. Why don’t they do this in
other professions? Why do lawyers, doctors, accountants,
plumbers, or anyone need training or college.? These people
think with 5 weeks training they can do this important job as well
as the trained professionals!!!! Sad ….. very sad.
Daisy


Anyone who falls for this propaganda has their head in the sand.
TFA has been called out for what it is: An opportuni$tic grab to
displace experienced, qualified teachers with 2 year ambitiou$
young career climbers who have no intention of staying in the
classroom. Well, I hope you realize that you just abandoned
Johnny, again, and helped destabilize a community’s school
along the way. Nice resume padding, $cab.
Erin Rafferty


Most TFA-temps can’t handle 1 year in a tough classroom. TFA’ers
aren’t badass they’re dropouts.
Joan Grim


Teach For America (TFA) is a Dumb Ass Scam (DAS).
Chris


I don’t think Badass means what you think it means….unless you
think it means hopeless posers who have NO idea how to teach
with a mere 5 weeks of training. Badass teachers have years of
preparations. Badass teachers advocate for and promote their
students, not themselves. You people are disgusting.
BASS


Badass Teachers Teach for Life
RBA


Imposters.
Scabs.
Pretenders.
You people have absolutely no right to stand in front of a
classroom of children.
John Christopher Nolan


Teaching and corporate America are not compatible. How dare
TFA try to Kopp(sic) the name. Bad Ass women? More like
Gordon Gekko, greedy poseurs. Hypocrites of the lowest
echelon.
Char Ashton


If by “transforming the landscape,” you mean the strip mining of
the education reform movement, then yes, the landscape is
“transformed.” No, it is not pretty. If you think that makes you
badass, than you are very confused as to what a real badass
teacher is.
FLBadassTeacher


No amount of propaganda can make me believe that TFA Corp
members are teachers.
Another Real Teacher!


Badass Teachers are in the profession for the long run, not for
resume building. We are there for the kids long after you TFA
employees move on and your charter schools shut down. Stop
pretending to compare yourselves to real classroom
professionals.
David Burks


Just wondering if you would also promote dentists, doctors,
nurses or lawyers who trained for 5 weeks instead of the 5+
years a true professional would undergo? Will you put you teeth,
surgery, hospital care, or legal case in the hands of a summer
trainee? Stop belittling the true expertise of a properly trained
educator. Teaching is NOT glorified babysitting. I believe my
library offers a babysitting certification in about the same time as
your ‘TFA’ training. Shameful!
ProudProfessionalEducator


Stealing, by imitating, the name of another group, namely the
BadAss Teachers (BATS), is unethical.
Sensei


Nice try Wendy. There is nothing badass about TFA. Now BadAss
Teachers know how to truly reform education in this country. Your
scabs are trying to help those who would destroy public
education and leave our most vulnerable children behind.
Laura Fleming


Basically Awaiting White (collar job)
Boldly Accomplishing What?
5yearstoyour5weeks


It’s telling that the accomplishments highlighted in the article deal
with actions outside the classroom. Figures.
Real Teacher


Badass Teachers are college trained professionals. I put in 20 ye,
with an education masters, plus National Board. TFA are naive
kids that damage the community with their cheap, inexperienced
labor then leave to say they worked with the poor. TFA is Teach
For A while.
Lucia, Real Badass Teacher


YOU CALL YOURSELVES TEACHERS ALSO,YOU CAN BELIEVE
WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE NOT BADASS TEACHERS BECAUSE
BADASS TEACHERS KNOW THE REAL TRUTH!
Wanda Ryals


TFA employees (I can’t call them teachers when the organization
calls them corps members and the organization doesn’t think
they are, either) don’t deserve the label “badass.” They may work
hard and raise families, but they were never as dedicated to their
students as the many thousands of real teachers who, knowing
the long hours and low pay, still went through the full education
program to be fully qualified as teachers and who have
dedicated decades to teaching. Temps for Awhile get this
attitude of superiority and idea that they can move into an area,
impose rigid discipline and scripted instruction, and leave after
two years to start their “real” careers. Even your founder, Wendy
Kopp, admits the deception. In 2011 she said, “We’re a leadership
development organization, not a teaching organization. I think if
you don’t understand that, of course it’s easy to tear the whole
thing apart.” Yet, she named it “Teach for America.” Why not,
“Leadership Development for America”? I call that “deceptive,”
not “Badass!”
Lisa ^O^


TFA is not and will never be a badass organization. The women
of TFA are not badass. They are temporary school personnel
committed only for two years of “teaching” despite the lack of
teacher training and skill obtained by credentialed teachers. TFA
takes money from public school districts as a headhunter would
for providing temporary, untrained personnel who will be gone as
soon as they begin to develop skills. That is not badass, but
greedy, shortsighted, and asinine.
Karen Rosa


Bad Ass Teachers aren’t “fueling” a career by teaching for two
years, we teach for a lifetime! TFA recruits are being terribly
deceived by articles like this. I hope they realize they have been
duped…students deserve career teachers. ^0^
Donna Mace ^O^


Wondering since TFA is so much more enlightened than us
properly trained EDUCATORS, why could you not come up with a
better moniker for your women than bad ass? Does seem odd
that you wanted to be called by the same name as us, so called
no good teachers who actually got a degree in education and
have put our hearts and souls into every precious child we teach
YEAR AFTER YEAR……meaning 10, 15, 20, 30 years….not an
“activity” to add to our resume for that “big job” in a couple of
years.
Badass Certified, Highly Qualified,
Highly Effective Trained Teacher


Perhaps the likes of Teach for America will go down in history as
one of the vulture capitalists’ most damaging privatization
enterprises to US public schools. The treatment of children as
commodities is weak and inhumane, not Badass. Feigning highly
qualified status is weak, not Badass. Taking jobs away from truly
highly qualified professionals is weak, not Badass. Using
propaganda to hide the truth of the impacts of poverty is weak,
not Badass. Going along with TFA’s cultish indoctrination without
using critical thinking (i.e. How can I possibly be highly qualified
to teach our neediest children after only 5 weeks of training
when it takes more training than 5 weeks to be licensed to be a
nail technician in a salon?) is weak, not Badass. Becoming an
insider to promote corporate propaganda in other leadership
roles when you’ve seen the ineffectiveness for personal gain and
profit is weak, not Badass. Protecting the profits of the 1% while
feigning good works for needy children is weak, not Badass.
Teach for America is a sham, not Badass. The harm done by TFA
and all who were complicit in this parasitic organization will go
down in history as personal weakness and unprofessional
conduct, as greedy and shameful behavior, not Badassery.
Susan DuFresne


You are not “Badass” at all. Maybe you should change to
“Wimpass.” Sounds a lot better and matches the crappy fake
teacher crap you promote.
Glenn


Sorry, the Badass moniker is taken by real Badass Teachers.
Don’t co-op the name, style and message of legitimate, highly
trained teachers – it’s just a sleazy move.
Joanne OBrien


Badass you are not.
Bad, edutourists, teach for a while, those who use students as
resume bullets, eduprenuers, fake, policy writers, wanna be a
politician, teacherprenuers and teacher wanna be are the correct
adjectives for you.
StandingProud


TFA are basically scabs, they teach for two years to pay for part
of a college education!
They are not committed to our children, they are committed to
lowering their student loan payments!!!
Food Safety Chef


Only a person from TFA (without teaching experience) would think
what they do is “badass”. You’re a joke and thankfully, despite all
of your self promotional efforts, the public is now aware of what a
sham you really are.
Proud Public School Parent Against TFA


Badass? Not a chance. A real badass ^0^ teacher knows that it
takes more than five weeks to develop her craft and years to
become a fully formed professional. Also, real badasses don’t
feel the need to promote themselves; they advocate for their
students. Real badasses study for years to be the best educator
they can be. Real badasses are in it for the long haul, not for a
few years. Please stop trying to be something you’re not…you are
not badasses
20 Year Badass ^O^


Obviously, the author of this article has a bias against real
teachers. Who would want their child to be taught by a poorly
trained college student? This is not OK. In no other profession
would you want a newbie working with you or your kids.
The idea that anyone can teach with just a little bit of training is
what’s wrong with education in this country. Do we want really
want a bunch of untrained, low-paid drones teaching our kids
through computers? Free thought, creativity, and a real zest for
learning would be casualties of this plan.
Shame on you for your fluff-piece!
Irving Milbury


You STOLE the name of our major teaching group. Some things
beggar belief–that some people believe throwing a kid with 5
weeks training into a high risk environment is a recipe for
success, for instance, or that the same people think it is okay to
steal a concept name that doesn’t belong to them and never will.
Shaking my head, TFA. Shaking my head.
Mr. Jay


Treating poor students and students of color as stepping stones
to your “better” career is not badass…it is selfish and morally
reprehensible.
Lynn


Wow – really? You can’t even come up with something original for
female TFA workers? And yes, workers because they are not
trained, highly qualified professionals, like teachers are. They are
pretenders and led to believe by an organization that they are
being well-trained in 5 weeks to withstand the demands of
modern teaching. Which is just like you trying to use “badass”
that already belongs to the Badass Teachers Association –
pretender.
C Andrews


You remind me of a group that co-opted the Children’s’ Defense
League’s motto, “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND” ! Real teachers go
through 2 to 5 years of training as teachers, real educators jump
through hoops TFA doesn’t even begin to address! To quote the
Childrens’ Defense League, “my boat is so small and the ocean is
so big”. Please don’t steal from real Bad Ass Teachers and we
won’t pretend to be nurses or paralegals or whatever other
career choices that take 2-5 years past the B.A.
Cynthia Mann


Not Cool… you have NOT EARNED the right to be “Badass” until
you earn your TEACHING DEGREE.
KAT


I am waiting for a Dentists for America. I can drill and fill cavities
in 5 weeks and tell other dentists how to do things more
effectively.
Robby G


Why do you need to “borrow” the essence of the name of an
actual Badass organization like Badass Teachers? A group of
highly trained REAL educators who despise the very thought of a
crash course for people to become teachers. Could it be that you
hope to take advantage of people who may not be aware of
TFA’s tactics? Could it be that you’re scared of the power and
influence that real BATs hold? I think so.
Real Badass Teacher


You are neither “Bad Ass” nor highly qualified. And worse, you
take the place of a teacher who is not only Bad Ass and highly
qualified, BUT who also plans to make it a life’s work. Shame!
Artmisse


http://www.alternet.org/education/teach-america-bait-and-switch- youll-be-making-difference-youre-making-excuses
John teacher


YOU ARE NOT BADASS. HORSE’S ASS, FOOL ASS AND GREEDY
ASS, THAT’S WHAT TFA IS. YOU CAN’T CALL YOURSELF
BADASS WITH ANY DEGREE OF CREDIBILITY IF YOUR GOAL IS
TO DESTROY THE PROFESSION OF TEACHING AND TURN IT
INTO A PART TIME GIG WHILE YOU’RE WAITING TO GET A REAL
JOB.
Michael Dominguez


TFA is dumbass, not badass. Anyone willing to believe that
inexperienced and poorly trained people who are in and out of
schools are somehow changing education in America for the
better is seriously confused. TFA is a private entity being used to
help privatize our country’s public education system. While TFA
recruits may put their hearts into their jobs, they just can’t
compete with a traditionally trained teacher. Edreformers tout
TFA but are the very reason there is a teacher shortage. If you
want to teach, don’t be a dumbass, go to school and get a
teaching degree.
Phil Sorensen


Holy neocolonialism, Batman! Could you be any more transparent
in your attempt to appropriate the badassery of the Badass
Teachers Association? This is pretty much what we expect from
an organization devoted to dismantling what’s left of public
education in support of a neoliberal corporate agenda.
Will Valenti


You are not bad ass. 5 weeks does not prepare you at all to teach
in education. I have taught for almost ten years and I have met
only two TFA worth anything. Most are simple a body in a class,
not knowledgable and certainly not a teacher. Your program is
NOT a solution, it is part of the problem. Shame on you for
pretending to be teachers!
Kelly


You are not bad ass. Far from it. You are part of the problem, not
the solution. 5 weeks of training is nothing. BATs work hard to
make changes in the system that benefit our students. We are
there everyday. Year after year. Becoming part of the community.
Your people don’t last in education. Your program is a joke.
Teresa Brown


SHAME ON YOU!! Claiming to be something you are when you
aren’t! You’re trying to take jobs from PROFESSIONALLY trained &
licensed teachers.
Mary


This is not even teaching, let alone badass teaching! Stop lying.
You have summer camp training at best. You are changing the
landscape of public education by harming the very children who
need the most stability. The real ‘badass’ teachers devote their
lives to their students, parents and communities. You use them to
further your NON educational career. How dare you call
yourselves teachers? You are destroyers of public education.
Shame on you.
Lesa Wilbert


Professional education, experience, and hard-won expertise are
badass. Long -term commitment and professional development
are badass. Pretending to expertise while blocking true
educators from jobs is not badass. Thinking that five weeks
creates a teacher is sheer ignorant folly.
Prof.teacher


Seriously you have 5 weeks of training to be a teacher. You are
not badass. ^o^
^O^


Forgetting the fact that you lifted the notion of being a badass
teacher directly from an established group of actual badass
teachers (and you know you did), this whole post smacks of fake
and flimsy rhetoric and degrades the common sense of intelligent
women.

My friend’s daughter fell for your “badass” pitch. She lasted a day
in New Orleans. A day. She realized immediately that she had
absolutely no support and was not prepared for the job that you
need a 4-5 year degree to do.
TFA= Teach For Awhile.
Al


This article is such ridiculous drivel! Who in their right mind
WANTS to entrust the education of their children to a person who
was trained for only 5 weeks?! While standing by and
watching/listening to HIGHLY QUALIFIED public school teachers
who are VERIFIABLY BADASS be villainized! This TFA program
has been used to de-professionalize the teaching profession, to
attack public school educators, and to fuel the drive for
ed-reformers to privatize and charter-ize public schools (oh
surprise! The same program’s advisory board the author of this
piece serves is driven toward ed-reform! I wonder if she also
knows & loves Michelle Rhee). Then, after 2 years or so, the
“teachers” from TFA leave teaching to pursue a different career
entirely! Though the examples listed above are family-related,
there are but six of them. All this TFA garble really tells me is that
there is a dangerous lack of knowledge of what it takes to truly
be a badass. Shameful.
A Highly Qualified Public School Teacher


Tfa is far from Badass! 5 weeks of training is a joke. Nothing can
replace the college training, internships in schools during college,
and student teaching that real teachers go through. No to
mention the continuing education in graduate school and the
years of experience that go into becoming a great teacher.
Teachem


Thinking you can become a teacher in 5 weeks is far from
badass. Going through a real education program and devoting
your life to teaching children – that is badass!
Marla Kilfoyle


If TFA was so great, why are white affluent districts standing in
line to hire these “teachers”? I guess if you are poor or a person
of color you don’t need a professional teacher! Instead, any hack
with 5 weeks of training looking to beef up their resume will do!
^o^
Eve Shippens


TFA=another attack on the public schools. Destroying truly
dedicated teachers who are getting forced out of the profession
(a profession is field of work you prepare for seriously and work
in for a prolonged period of time). All as a cheap alternative.
Charmbla


This is not badass, how dare you try to co-opt the badass theme!
Come at me ten, fifteen years from now when you’ve earned
comparable qualifications (not the ones handed to you), and
stayed in the classroom and not used is as a jump to the
boardroom.
TFA is pathetic. Gl
eelo


Putting TFA clones into staff office in the House of
Representatives is the moral equivalent of stuffing a ballot box;
Putting people with 5 weeks training into inner city classrooms is
gentrification and is the moral equivalent of breaking and
entering; calling yourself badass is a joke. No one is laughing.
sue


You are not badass. You are destroying public education with
dirty money.
^O^


TFA=Teach for awhile 5 weeks of summer training do not make
for a highly trained teacher, but a babysitter. School systems pay
TFA per placement – how much $? The money would be better
spent on hiring qualified, trained teachers who choose teaching
as a career, not a resume building experience. It takes years to
become a master teacher. How will the two-year churn of teacher
turnover with TFA teachers benefit the schools they work in?
NOVAOptOut


Hope that TFAers who read this post are aware of how dishonest
and derivative this BAW idea is. If I hadn’t been so before and I
were a TFAer I would finally be humiliated by being a member of
TFA. Is there anyone reading our comments who is puzzled?
Well, if you are one such person figure it out.
ann


Badass? For how long? 2 years? Then on to another career
where you make twice as much and talk about how you tried to
help poor minorities at some cocktail party? Please. Teaching is
not for weak or for people who give up on it.
JSmom

You are not in any way, shape, or form badass. 5 weeks of
training does not equal a REAL teacher.
^o^ Maggie Coffinet, one badass teacher and proud member of
the Badass Teachers Association


“These women are so badass that they don’t have time for
self-promotion;…..” followed by a page of promotion? I am
thinking that this blatant co-opted, copy-cat messaging is a sign
of desperate times.
Cindy Hamilton


Badass??? Really??? 5 week training course and you don’t make
a career out of education you use it as a stepping stone for
another job that pays better. How “badass” is that? There is no
“love” of the job, “love” for the children, no true calling…REAL
BAD ASS TEACHERS have degrees 4 and 5 years long with
Master Degrees to boot…we do what we do for decades in the
classrooms…talk to me when you’ve been in the classroom as
long as I have! I have been in college learning HOW to teach
longer than most of your members have been teaching in
classrooms! THAT’S BADASS!
One seriously Badass Teacher


Pathetic Imitation is the pathetically sincerest form of pathetic
flattery. or something . . . heh heh. I mean, this just beats all!
Pathetic. Se also https://www.facebook.com/groups
/BadAssTeachers/
Bert Downs


These women aren’t badass. They are exploiting the poor,
compromising public education and responsible for putting the
most untrained, temporary teachers into our most underserved
schools. Not badass – just self-serving.
Pamela Casey Nagler


Are you trying to co opt the language of the Badass Teachers
movement? Five week trained scabs are not bad ass nor
teachers. Nice try but we aren’t fooled.
Ro Jensen


NOTE: This article also was published on the Badass Teachers Association blog.