One of the most powerful benefits of blogging, in my opinion, is that I am able to connect with people from all over the country, who may have different backgrounds, but who share in the common mission to improve the field of education. I am honored to join a growing community of concerned citizens, parents, teachers, principals, scholars, and the like, in advocating for better education for all.
That being said, there are two grassroots organizations, in particular, that deserve recognition for their efforts in this area. They have also compelled me to fully endorse their movements—the Badass Teachers Association (BATs) and the TNT: Teaching Not Testing—A New Narrative for Education (Las Cruces, as based on my recent visit – see prior posts here and here).
The BATs, founded by Fordham Professor, Mark Naison, and long-time educator and activist, Priscilla Sanstead, is a grassroots organization made up of more than 50,000 educators, parents, and concerned citizens. Dr. Naison first described the group as a group “…for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.” The group has held strong to that original mission has since grown into a force with which to be reckoned. They organize and support various education rallies, meet with public officials and policymakers, and fight to have their voices heard.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the BATs and get involved. Here are some helpful links: here is the BAT Website, here is the BAT Facebook Group, and here are the BATs on Twitter: @BadassTeachersA.
The TNT: Teaching, Not Testing–A New Narrative for Education (Las Cruces), is another organization that I hope you will check out and also support. TNT is an action-oriented group made up of parents, educators, and community members who are interested in countering the current high-stakes testing reform movement. Linda, a TNT member said, “We like to make stuff happen. Talk is good, but action is necessary. We’ve got some serious strategies planned to counter this reform movement, both statewide and locally. We’re definitely one to watch, and would like to share our trials and victories with any other group fighting this same good fight.”
Otherwise, she described the group as: “…a group of concerned parents, students, teachers, and administrators who seek to offer a new narrative for education. We want to have a voice in bringing the high-stakes testing movement to an end. Teachers and students are the ones who suffer the most. We will have testimonial videos in the near future from students and retired teachers sharing their personal experiences about high-stakes testing. Current teachers and administrators live in fear of reprisal since approximately 50% of their evaluations are dependent on test scores. In addition, teachers have to sign a statement [in New Mexico] whereby they “will not disparage” the test. This group is committed to giving teachers a voice again and hopefully help to restore their dignity and respect as professionals.
You can check out TNT using the following: via the TNT Facebook Group or TNT Las Cruces on Twitter: @TNT_Las_Cruces
Thank you to those who continue to fight the good fight. Our students and teachers deserve our support, and together, we may actually be able to create the change our educational system so desperately needs.