On July 28, BATs from 30 states and the District descended on the Department of Education to demand changes in direction from the DOE and to celebrate teaching, learning, and solidarity. The gathering allowed the Education Town Hall to meet in person a number of activists we’ve only “met” remotely in the past. Feature reporter, Virginia Spatz, also had the opportunity to make new acquaintance with many fascinating BadAss Teachers, BadAss Moms, and others dedicated to taking back public education. Look forward to more on this — as well as pictures from the rally — in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, what many assumed would be a pro forma meeting of BATs with officials at DOE turned out to be more interested — and a little more hopeful than expected, particularly when Secretary Arne Duncan unexpectedly joined the conversation:

On July 28, 2014, following the BAT Rally outside the US Department of Education, a delegation of BATS went up to the Education
Department’s Office of Civil Rights to share some of the main issues that BATS had with Department Policy. Representing the BATS were Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager of BATS. Dr Yohuru Williams of Fairfield University, Chicago BAM (Badass Moms) leader Shoneice Reynolds and her son Asean Johnson, Tennessee BAT leader Larry Proffitt, and Dr Mark Naison, co founder of BATS. The meeting had been set up by Marla Kilfoyle through an official of the Department of Education’s Office of Communications.

Arne Duncan was not originally scheduled to attend the meeting, but dropped in unexpectedly in the middle. What follows is my account of the meeting, including the dialogue with Mr. Duncan, along with and some reflections on what it all means. How much of what transpired will lead to further communication and action, and how much represented a “smoke and mirrors” game by officials of the Department remains to be seen.
— Read the rest of Mark Naison’s report

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