Garn Press Supports the Badass Teachers Association (BAT)
“‘Badass’ is a signifier of what it takes to act with moral responsibility and courage at the beginning of the 21st century, when US civil society has become vulnerable to official sanctioned immoral activity. BAT is taking a leadership role by acting ethically when policy makers, corporations, and elite ideologues, act unethically.” Garn Press supports Badass Teachers and we take our hats off to all of them.
Before wars are fought with physical weapons they are fought with words. The war being fought against the American people by the political elites – Trump is an upper class businessman who has become a member of the political elite – is disguised as populism. Through verbal trickery Trump has co-opted many people in US society who are vulnerable and dispossessed. His campaign and now his presidency feeds on their anger and he gathers up their angst to maintain his power through his Pacman Tweets.
But some groups in society are less susceptible to his cleverly disguised populist propaganda. It has always been so. Members of society who are in the caring professions, and who work closely with the vulnerable and the dispossessed, “see” through the rhetoric of men like Trump. They do what they can to sound the alarm that alerts people in society that the political elites have gone off-course, jeopardizing the struggle for democracy in which people who are poor are not sacrificed for the gratification of the rich. It is for this reason that when wars take place with words teachers are targeted.
It is for this reason that Garn Press has supported the Badass Teachers since the inception of the Association and we take our hats off to all of them. One of the first books Garn Press published in 2014 was Nineteen Clues: Great Transformations Can Be Achieved Through Collective Action, by Denny Taylor. Here is the shout-out in Nineteen Clues to the Badass Teachers Association (BAT) and to Diane Ravitch on being a BadAss Teacher.
Excerpt From Nineteen Clues: Great Transformations Can Be Achieved Through Collective Action (available as a FREE ebook)
Teachers have always been public intellectuals, even though they have seldom been recognized as such, but in recent years they have been so denigrated, so beaten up, that it has been increasingly difficult for them to hold on to that position. The Badass Teacher Association (BAT) is changing that. “Badass” is a signifier of what it takes to act with moral responsibility and courage at the beginning of the 21st century, when US civil society has become vulnerable to official sanctioned immoral activity. BAT is taking a leadership role by acting ethically when policy makers, corporations, and elite ideologues, act unethically. BATs transgress. To be “badassed” is to be good, if good is defined as to act in defense of children and their families. BATs dare big thoughts and resist indoctrination. They are badassed in the sense given in the Oxford Dictionary. A badass teacher is tough and uncompromising, a formidably impressive person, so amazing, she’s a badass.
“I was uneasy with the name,” Diane Ravitch writes, “but I got over it.” Ravitch, a renowned scholar, was Assistant Secretary of Education in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, and was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 1997 to 2004.
She has changed course and she is now the most formidable opponent of the educational reforms that are currently taking place.
“I am honored to join your group,” Ravitch writes. “The best hope for the future of our society, of public education, and of the education profession is that people stand up and resist. Say ‘No’. Say it loud and say it often.”
“Teachers must resist,” she continues, “because you care about your students, you care about your profession. You became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children, not to take orders and obey the dictates of someone who knows nothing about your students.”
“Parents must resist, to protect their children from the harm inflicted on them by high-stakes testing,” Ravitch writes, “Administrators must resist … School board members must resist … Students must resist …”
“Everyone who cares about the future of our democracy must resist, because public education is under attack, and public education is a foundation stone of our democracy. We must resist the phony rhetoric of “No Child Left Behind,” which leaves every child behind, and we must resist the phony rhetoric of ‘Race to the Top,” which makes high-stakes testing the be-all and end-all of schooling. The very notion of a ‘race to the top’ is inconsistent with our democratic idea of equality of educational opportunity.”
“You must resist, because if you do not, we will lose public education in the United States and the teaching profession will become a job, not a profession,” Ravitch encourages BAT members. “What is happening today is not about ‘reform’ or even ‘improvement,’ it is about cutting costs, reducing the status of teachers, and removing from education every last shred of joy in learning.”
“Be brave,” Ravitch writes. “When you stand together and raise your voices, you are powerful. Thank you for counting me as one of your own. I salute you.”
“We will only be able to make change if we stand together,” one BAT responds, If we stand together, we are hopefully too many voices to ignore!”
“And on the name?” another teacher writes. “I’m proud to be a Badass Teacher. For too long teachers have been silent, apathetic, doormats. No more. Proudtobeabat.”
“There you have it,” writes another. “These are not normal times. We must leave our comfort zones, and in so doing we’ll be true models for our students. If we capitulate without a fight against the forces that want to make education (and all life) a commodity, then we’ll deserve whatever happens. Resist. Resist. Resist.”
“Don’t agonize, organize.”
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