TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Think Common Core opponents are all right-wing, tin-foil-hat-wearing Tea Party members?
If so, it’s time you learned about the Badass Teachers Association.
BAT is a 25,000-member group of left-wing educators, union members and progressive activists who “are pushing back against the national (learning) standards with Twitter strikes, town hall meetings and snarky Internet memes,” reports Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald.
Group members – known as BATs – share the concerns of conservatives and libertarians that Common Core will strip states and school districts of control over public education.
BATs are also worried the one-size-fits-all learning standards for math and English place “too much emphasis on testing and will stifle creativity in the classroom,” McGrory reports.
“The liberal critique of Common Core is that this is a huge profit-making enterprise that costs school districts a tremendous amount of money, and pushes out the things kids love about school, like art and music,” said Mark Nelson, a Fordham University professor and BAT co-founder.
McGrory notes that the more traditional teachers union – the Florida Education Association – is also beginning to turn on Common Core.
FEA President Andy Ford said some union members don’t like that their job reviews and (in some cases) wages will be determined by how well their students perform on assessments that are aligned with the new standards.
They have a point. New York school districts switched to Common Core testing this spring and saw their students’ test scores plummet.
Education gadfly Diane Ravitch believes the Badass Teachers Association proves U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is wrong when he “insists that the main criticism of Common Core comes from extremists and fringe groups like the Tea Party.”
McGrory notes “there are still plenty of Democrats who support the Common Core initiative, from the Obama administration down to teachers and parents on the local level. And in Florida, the movement still enjoys widespread support from the Republican-dominated legislature.”
“But the opposition is strong enough that state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, is calling for a review before Florida moves further ahead with the standards and accompanying exams,” McGrory writes.