Sunday, October 27, 2013
The BATS and the Teachers Unions
This organization has now been around for over 5 months, and has become an essential part of the Education Activism landscape. It has given hope to many teachers who thought they were alone in opposing the wave of Testing descending on our public schools, and solidarity to others engaged in brutal battles in their states and localities to protect their jobs, their students and their professional integrity.
As BATS has grown, one our of the most important roles has been to serve as a gadfly to and critic of the leadership of NEA and AFT who have sometimes been complicit with policies we are fighting. Some would even say we have become the conscience of those two organizations.
That is an important role, but it needs clarification. Many members of BATS are also members and leaders of NEA and AFT chapters at the state and local level. They are working to change policies they disagree with from within, not to form alternative organizations. BATS is not, and has never been,the nucleus of a dual union .We defend teachers unions in principle, think strong teachers unions are a necessarily correlate of a strong public school system, and will fight to protect the two national teachers unions we have from outside attack
If this position confuses people outside of BATS so be it. We are a militantly pro union teachers organization that reserves the right to criticize leaders of the national teachers unions when we think they have gone "off mission" or show too much deference to politicians and Corporate leaders