Get To Know The BATS: Teachers Fighting Privatization

Editor’s Note: With the appointment of billionaire school privatization advocate Betsy DeVos to US Secretary of Education, the fight for education justice has stepped into hyper speed. We have never needed solidarity like we do now. Get to know one network of teachers who are partnering with others and taking things into their own hands. - Simon Davis-Cohen

Chris Christie once told a Badass Teacher that he was “sick”of people like her. It was his response to the question posed by her sign: Schools in NJ are among the top 3 in the country. Why does Governor Christie portray our schools as failure factories?“You know what,”he said, “I’m tired of this. I’m so sick of you people. What do you want?”He pointed his finger in her face, “just go do your job.”

It was 2014, seven years into Melissa Tomlinson’s career as a public middle school special education teacher in Buena, NJ—and six months after the founding of the Badass Teachers Association (BATs) network.

Some might know BATs for their online activism and role in the campaign against Betsy DeVos. Organized horizontally through committees, we have chapters in every state, but all are autonomous to account for unique obstacles and local culture. For example, in Tennessee, BATs have to be able to work with Republican candidates while fighting against Achievement School District models, whereas California BATs focus more on Democrats in their campaigns to resist charters and privatization.

Read on:
"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."
-John Trudell