Archives for category: BATS

I watched this wonderful film—They Survived Together—on public television by happenstance. It is absorbing.

It is the story of a family that managed to escape the Warsaw ghetto just as the Nazis began to eliminate the Jews who lived there. They encountered the face of evil, they looked down the barrel of the gun pointed at them by the Butcher of Krakow. They endured unimaginable hardships. The story is told by the family, mostly through the eyes of children.

Watching the film is an excellent way to learn about the Holocaust and to see heroism, courage, persistence, luck, and the kindness of strangers, all of which made this story of survival possible.

I strongly urge you to see it and to ask your children to watch as well. It will be shown again on December 12 and will be streaming.

The film was made possible by a GoFundMe campaign. It includes a dazzling array of archival footage, from prewar Poland and wartime.

NPE Action is proud to endorse Larry Proffitt for the Tennessee House, District 66.

The best way to make sure that education is adequately funded is to elect experienced teachers who understand the needs of students and schools.

The Network for Public Education Action is proud to endorse long-time education activist and teacher Larry Proffitt for the Tennessee House, District 66.

Here is why Larry is campaigning for the seat:​

​”I’m running to try to stem the tide against the toxic testing that allows for the privatization argument in my state. I’ve given up 10 years of snow days visiting the legislature to oppose the charter and voucher legislation in Tennessee.

My opponent has taken DeVos, Koch, and Tennesseans For Student Learning First (former Students 1st). He supports the state charter authorizer that may overrule our local school board’s denial of a charter on whose board his daughter sits and is under investigation in Nashville.

It is time teachers took the lead in policy instead of just complaining. I will not sit back and let others form policy about my students and peers without a fight!”

We urge you to vote on November 6 for Larry Proffitt, teacher, Tennessee BAT, and candidate for TN House District 66.

John Merrow turns 77 on June 14. He plans to bike 77 miles to mark his 77th birthday. He has been doing this since 2011.

His post documents the mileage each year.

He asks that you support his quest by giving $77 to three designated charities: Planned Parenthood; the Badass Teachers Association; or the Network for Public Education.

You can see he has chosen three very deserving, tax-deductible charities. I plan to give $77 to each of them to honor our friend. I hope to give $78 next year and keep adding increments for many years to come.

Whatever you think of his reportage at PBS, where he documented the rise and end of Michelle Rhee, John has become an invaluable ally of our struggle to save the public schools from aggressive but clueless billionaires and to expose the failures of high-stakes testing.

So my birthday gift to John is to name him a Hero of public education and add him to our honor roll and look forward to having him as a tireless leader of the cause of real and humane education under democratic control.

Take this short survey.

The Badass Teachers and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy are working on a Teacher Privacy Toolkit and would like educators and other school or district staff to respond to a survey about data practices in their schools. This is important to ensure that the toolkit is as useful as possible and responds to educators’ concerns about their students’ privacy and their own.

The link is here:

The survey will close on March 18 so please help them out!

Tom Ultican loved Steven Singer’s new book, “Gadfly on the Wall,” which also happens to be the name of Steven’s Blog. I often reprint Steven’s posts, because he writes very well, he is well-informed, and he is passionate in defending his students and public schools.

Tom writes:

“Steven shares a hoary story that has become a national crisis. Unlike a Steven King novel, this book, Gadfly on the Wall, is not a fantasy. It is impossible to overstate the damage being done to America and its children by the greedy, the self-centered and the stupid. They are set on destroying free universal public education in America.

“Billionaires be wary, Steven says he is ready kick your sorry asses.

“Many people were disheartened when Donald Trump became president and installed an evangelical who despises public schools as Secretary of Education. Her agenda seems to be ending public education and creating a system of government financed Christian schools. Here, I really love Steven’s attitude. He says,

“We lived through administrations that wanted to destroy us and actually knew how to do it! We can take Tiny Hands, the Bankruptcy King any day! This is a guy who couldn’t make a profit running casinos – a business where the house always wins! You expect us to cower in fear that he’s going to take away our schools. Son, we’ve fought better than you!”

“I first met the author of The Gadfly on the Wall at Chicago’s Drake Hotel almost three years ago. Educators, parents and others were arriving for the National Public Education (NPE) conference. The Drake’s lobby waiting area is at the top of a short flight of stairs next to the room where hi-tea has been served since the 19th century. It was here that I met Karen Wolfe from LA, Larry Profit from Tennessee, Steven Singer from Pennsylvania and many others.

“That evening the tall Anthony Cody was at the top of the stairs greeting new arrivals; many of whom gathered in the elegantly appointed waiting area. It was a conducive atmosphere for my first conversation with a humble bespectacled somewhat chubby Steven. I had been reading Steven’s new blog and really liked it. Later, I made some notes about the evening’s encounters intending of write about it when time permitted. Steven beat me to it. In the morning our arrival scene was covered by a wonderful post in his “Gadfly on the Wall Blog.”

“I have learned that Steven is disciplined, efficient and a very hard worker. He is emblematic of the teacher blogger. His opinions are sometimes hyperbolic but when he states a fact it is well sourced and the source is readily available. I have often used sources Steven provided when doing my own writing.

“Unlike education journalism in commercial and non-profit media, teacher bloggers show more integrity because their peers in the profession demand it. Also, billionaires are not underwriting their blogs. Teachers are providing unvarnished truths about the attack on public education. The Gadfly on the Wall is a compilation of three years of blogs calling out the perpetrators of the attacks on public schools for their false narratives about failing public schools, their often-racist agendas, and their manipulation of data used to justify charter schools, testing and vouchers.”

Tom concludes:

“I was particularly moved by Singer’s treatment of educating refugees. He noted,

“Some may shudder or sneer at the prospect of giving shelter to people in need, that is the reality in our public schools. In the lives of many, many children we provide the only stability, the only safety, the only love they get all day.”

“He concluded the article on refugees:

“So if we’re considering letting in more refugees, don’t worry about me. Send them all my way. I’ll take all you’ve got. That’s what public schools do.”

“I have tried to give a flavor of this wonderful book along with some of my own views. The bottom line is that Gadfly on the Wall is entertaining, informative and provocative. Thank you, Steven.”


If you are a teacher, you might consider joining the Badass Teachers Association. They are the fearless fighters in the profession, the ones who stand up for the profession and students and public schools in every forum, with courage and persistence.

Here is the BAT Pledge to Childhood.

Take a look at what they did in 2017.

They are truly the Batmen and Batwomen of education.

When the going gets tough, you can count on the BATS.

They are the bare-knuckle street fighters of education.

Are you bold enough to be a BAT?

This is a very brief video about Teach for America.

It demonstrates the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. It needs to be updated: a one minute video is worth a 10,000 word essay of the video is well done.

Salute the arrival of a brilliant new film production company. It won’t make anyone rich because it gives away its product for free.

It is the BadAss Teachers Association and Steven Singer, teacher and blogger.

Their first video is a winner. It runs for 1 minute and a few seconds.

A message from the BadAss Teachers Association:

Dear BATs and BAT Supporters,

First of all, thank you so much for your historic advocacy. Despite the confirmation of DeVos, we have made history. We will continue to double down our efforts and BATs is working on our Phase 2 plan – stay tuned and keep up to date with our movements.

Here is the BATs press release on the DeVos confirmation – please share it out

Here is a strongly worded letter campaign to the Senate demanding they now protect our schools from Betsy DeVos

You have a strong commitment from BATs that we will not back down and we will continue to fight until Public Education, our children, their families, our communities, and our profession is afforded the respect it deserves!

In Solidarity

Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director BATs

Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. Executive Director BATs

BAT Board of Directors and Steering Committee Directors

Here are some suggested readings from the BATS:


Here are some pieces you can read about DeVos. She is NO friend to public education and has been attacking public education in Michigan for over a decade.


Here is what the teachers of Michigan say:


Chalkbeat reports what you should know about DeVos:


Common Dreams


We cannot retreat in despair. DeVos as Secretary of Education is NOT good news for public education but we must show the children and their families that we will fight for them. In the weeks to come the BATs Board of Directors will be in discussions about how we continue and amp up our fight to save public education and to create strong sustainable public schools for all children. We cannot fight without your support. So, please consider donating to BATs at our website – you can give a one-time donation or become a $10 a month subscriber. We need YOU to help US fight for public education.


In Solidarity,



The BATs Board of Directors



The BATS released the following statement on Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos:

The Badass Teachers Association
MARLA KILFOYLE, Executive Director BATs
MELISSA TOMLINSON, Asst. Executive Director BATs



BATs Board of Directors Statement on Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education



The Badass Teachers Association, a network of over 80,000 teachers and education activists throughout the United States, are appalled that Betsy DeVos has been selected Secretary of Education. We want to be clear as an organization, we will mobilize on a national level, at the state level, and the local level to STOP her agenda to dismantle public education in this nation. We will fight for our communities to have strong, sustainable, and well-funded public schools.


Betsy DeVos brings NO education experience, but she does bring a disturbing record of attempting to dismantle public education. She has used her family money and influence to push an agenda that will hand public tax dollars over to unaccountable for-profit corporations; she will promote vouchers schemes that have, according to research, no value in improving education, and she will funnel public money to church-sponsored schools. Students and families across the nation will pay for her lack of understanding that it is the responsibility of elected officials, and the public, to provide a quality public education for all children.


“Public education is not a business. Public education is not a competition. In competition and business there are winners and losers. Public education should be about nurturing our most valuable resource – our children. Our children deserve a Secretary of Education who is an advocate for public education not privatization.” – Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director BATs


“Children whose parents lack the means or ability to select a school and provide transportation for a child to a school far away from their neighborhood are left with little “choice.” This will certainly be harmful to the most vulnerable children and families and will fall especially hard on those in poverty and those in isolated rural communities”. – Kathleen Jeskey, Oregon BAT and BAT Co-Director of State Administrators.


“Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education solidifies and makes tangible the very real concerns many in Public Education have about the disrespect shown and the callous disregard for our profession. It appears that the President-elect has doubled down on the efforts to privatize and commodify one of the cornerstones of democracy. Trump has in fact spat in the face of all who work tirelessly for the many children in public schools throughout the country by appointing someone with little regard for the work we do. As a public school teacher, I am committed now more than ever to bringing attention to the many challenges we face in trying to save Public Education from the greedy hands that seek to profit from our children and our communities. With this selection, Trump has revealed his true feelings and intentions when it comes to the students, families, and educators that comprise our Public Schools.” – Gus Morales, BAT Board of Director Member


“Great! A Republican mega-donor who never held a job in her life will be the next Education Secretary. She’s a perfect choice for Trump’s plan to bribe state government to increase charter and voucher schools with our tax dollars.” – Steven Singer, Director BATs Research, and Blogging.


” Why on Earth would someone who has no experience working with and for the public in our school system be appointed to oversee the same system they never worked within. Is the goal of this administration to improve Public Education or is it to pilfer the coffers that should be allocated for all the children of our country. This is unfathomable.” – Becca Ritchie, NEA BAT Caucus Chair


“After the constant failure to deliver the promised results of improvements and closing of achievement gaps, BATs consider such a nomination as unacceptable. Public schools and teachers have seen and suffered for almost two decades the same dogmatic ideology she professes and its destructive policies.” – Sergio Flores, BATs Board of Directors Member


“My teacher friends here in Michigan know that the choice of Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education shows just how much we have to be concerned about in a Trump administration. Ms. DeVos is not just a charter cheerleader–her goal is to destroy our system of public education and turn a public good into a private profit center. Based on her track record in Michigan, we can expect an alarming lack of transparency and an unbecoming level of arrogance coming from a DeVos-run Department of Education. We must all be vigilant, and make a move from public school advocates to activists. It’s that important.” – Mitchell Robinson, associate professor and chair of music education – Michigan State University


BATs around the country will continue to advocate and fight at the federal, state, and local level to sustain our public school system and to make sure that every child in this country has a strong, sustainable community public school in their neighborhood. Betsy DeVos is unqualified and unfit to be Secretary of Education. The children, families, and teachers of this nation deserve better.