Monday, November 4, 2013
Teachers Enemies are in BOTH Major Parties
As we watch, with excitement and some trepidation, how our Hero-BAT Love Light is being given national exposure because of her campaign trail encounter with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, let us remember that there are two other Presidential aspirants in the New York Metropolitan area- both of them Democrats-whose positions on education issues are indistinguishable from that of Christie: New Jersey Senator elect Cory Booker, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. They may not engage in the kind of theatrical display of teacher bullying that Governor Cristie gave us, but attacks on teachers and teachers unions are integral part of the political formula they hope will elevate them to the White House and they draw funds and advisors from Astro Turf school reform groups the same way Cristie's does.
The lesson here- BATS must not let what happened to Love Light be spun into a partisan political message that makes it seem as though the major threat to teachers stems from the Republican Party. There are awful education policies being pushed by Republican governors in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina, to name a few, but let us remember that the largest test revolt in US history occurred, and is still gaining steam in New York State, against the policies of a Democratic governor, that Democratic Governors in Connecticut and Rhode Island are widely despised by teachers in those states, and that Democratic Mayors in Chicago and Philadelphia have been enthusiastic supporters of charterization, school closings and teacher firings on a grand scale.
The stronger BATS become, the more our members emerge as heroic figures of resistance to policies that are losing their luster, the more vigilant we must be against attempts to divide us along partisan lines and undermine the principles that have allowed us to become this strong in the first place.
Non partisanship is the rock upon which the rise of BATS has been built, and it must remain a central feature of our identity as we gain national attention for our ideas.