Saturday, June 4, 2016

@WhiteHouse BATs Request a White House Conference on EDUCATION & EQUITY - Badass Teachers Association #whitehouse

Badass Teachers Association:

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

BATs Request a White House Conference on EDUCATION & EQUITY

 The Badass Teachers Association, representing a network of over 70,000 teachers and education activists throughout the United States, formally request a White House Conference on Education and Equity.

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

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

Our organization  proposes that a White House Conference be initiated immediately.  Like much of the American landscape, Public K-12 Education requires infrastructure overhaul that have been installed to insert barriers that inhibit authentic learning. We do not accept the mendacity that racial and ethnic minorities must fail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We reclaim our professionalism.

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

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

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

Sincerely yours,
Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director The Badass Teachers Association
Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. Executive Director The Badass Teachers Association
The Board of Directors – Wilma de Soto,  Dr. Denisha Jones, Terry Kalb, Gus Morales, and Priscilla Sanstead
Steering Committee Directors – Steven Singer, Dr. Michael Flanagan, Tina Andres, Sue Goncarovs, Kathie Wing-Larsyn, Stacy Holcombe, Roberta Reid, Becca Ritchie, Kathleen Jeskey, and  Jamy Brice-Hyde,
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