Day 2: NEA Rep Assembly BAT Blog #NEARA14 #NEABAT (With pictures)

On yet another beautiful Colorado day, thousands upon thousands of teachers and support personnel poured into the Denver Convention Center.

Today, our National Education Association kicked off our 2014 Representative Assembly with a fan fare of music, lights, and even remote control video cameras.

As, I entered the main assembly seating area, I quickly realized I had underestimated the amount of coffee that I would need that day.

Most of the morning seemed to be a tribute to Dennis Van Roekel, our retiring President. I have never met him, but I am pretty sure we have been in a few articles together, so I was curious as to his personality. On stage, he was lighthearted and funny during the tribute. His mother came up and spoke on his behalf. It was a precious moment.

During afternoon debate, DVR tightened up a little bit on the personality. Debate went fast and he rules a pretty strict parlimentary procedure. I must admit, as a first time delegate, I was a bit intimidated.

I never did find the needed coffee, but I did find Fred Klonsky, retired teacher, blogger, and one of my personal heroes. #EvenBetter

I did eventually get up and go to the microphone to speak on a new business item which involved art and core standards. My “comical” moment made EdWeek Blog:

“In one of the more comical moments of the convention so far, Bonnie Margolin, a self-proclaimed Badass Teacher, took the microphone to respond to that proposal. “I stood up in opposition initially because it says core standards, but I can see that it was written by teachers and educators so I’m rescinding my opposition,” she said. The BATs, as they call themselves, are vocal critics of the common-core standards. There were no other objections.”

Yup. That is me. Once a class clown, always a class clown.

Of course, I wasn’t just playing on the mic. Funny sells, people listen … My objection was to Common Core. If I wasn’t sleepy from an eventful day, I’d give you 10 reasons why Common Core is not what we want implemented.

If I wasn’t so tired, I’d find the notebook carrying the notes I jotted down today. I would quote DVR. I would go deeper into those words …

But, tonight, I need rest, so I leave you with these pictures and highlights from today !








BAT Caucus worked hard through lunch !

Cereste Smith, co-founder of United Opt Out, and active BAT, delivered a powerful speech to our FL Caucus. 

Photo: Ceresta Smith,  co-founder of United Opt Out, and active BAT,  delivered a powerful speech to our FL Caucus.

“We are the only profession that has to steal items from home to be able to do our job.” – Earl Wiman, Candidate for reelection to the NEA Executive Committee

Photo: "We are the only profession that has to steal items from home to be able to do our job." - Earl Wiman,  Candidate for reelection to the NEA Executive Committee #NEA2014 #NEABAT

Until tomorrow and from the Colorado Rockies and Happy 4th of July !


Day 1: NEA Rep Assembly BAT Blog via @GatorBonBC (with pictures)


At the foot of the Colorado Rockies, teachers and support personnel,  active and retired,  have come together to participate in the 2014 NEA Representative Assembly.


I am a first time delegate. This past week,  my husband and I took the long drive, from Florida to Denver, for this chance of a lifetime.


It is definitely worth the drive to be here. Public education is under attack. Corporate reformers,  among others, are set on making a buck off our children and they have set their sights set on our schools.


Being from Florida, I attended our state caucus. Our FEA President,  Andy Ford,  led the meeting using parliamentary procedure.


Motions were made and discussions about upcoming  NEA elections motivated many delegates to approach the microphones.


Candidates for various NEA officer positions also spoke to our group. George Sheridan,  Candidate for NEA Executive Committee Candidate,  garnered much applause. He started his speech by comparing,  “Arne Duncan is to the public schools of America what Rick Scott is to Florida”


NEA Vice President Candidate,  Becky Pringle, also spoke. She brought the Florida Caucus to their feet with her powerful comments : “We will organize and agitate… This is our time!”


After I met with my state caucus, I trekked a few blocks over to the BAT Caucus. In case you have not heard of the BATs,  they are the Badass Teachers Association. 


This grassroots group consists of close to 50,000 teachers,  nationwide,  who choose to speak up against school privatization,  high stakes testing,  and other issues that plague our public schools.


I have been involved with ‘BAT’ since early on,  so I was not surprised to walk into a room chock full of teachers working diligently together to draft bills (NBIs ) and resolutions.


Like FL, our BAT Chair,  Becca Ritchie,  led the BAT caucus using parliamentary procedure. The group also discussed floor strategy during tomorrow’s debate. All and all,  the BAT caucus meeting was a huge success.


Over the next week, I will do my best to keep up with the Representative Assembly debate and report back the results.


Check back tomorrow for day two and be sure to follow on Twitter using hashtags #NEABAT and #NEA2014


What do you want to see at this year’s NEA Representative Assembly? Which issues concern you the most?

I look forward to your responses!

Group wants end to high-stakes testing

We recently held a press conference in our county regarding the impact of high stakes testing on children and teachers. I spoke on the panel next to a handful of teachers, union & district reps, as well another parent. Here is a clip, published in our local paper.

Speak up. It’s the only way.

From the article,

“Quite a bit of test prep is going on, not because people feel their paychecks are at risk, but there’s a commitment to the students,” said Bonnie Cunard, a teacher at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts. “I know if my students do poorly on whatever is put in front of them, they may be remediated and have to give up on (art, music, or physical education classes).”


Jeb for Prez in 2016? Florida parents say No Way!

Keep making noise!! Jeb for President? Florida moms and dads says ‘No Way’!!!

Quote: “Put simply, it’s hard to buy Bush’s version of education utopia when his state trails America in things such as SAT scores and graduation rates.

Sure, “reform” talk continues to excite the conservative think tanks and voucher supporters. But those folks don’t decide elections. Moms and dads do. And moms and dads, who have seen their kids’ science classes cut to make way for bureaucratic busy work, aren’t impressed.

I think Jeb knows this. In fact, during his recent speech at Rollins, he devoted as much passion to energy issues — his support for the Keystone pipeline and natural gas — as he did education. He’s trying to branch out.”

Shame on Chicago Board of Ed Members for Mocking / Bullying a Parent: Caught. Picture. #SHAME

Say it isn’t so … ?

Say I didn’t just read that Chicago Board of Education Members, Henry Bienen and Mahalia Hines, were making fun of an impassioned parent who chose to speak up for her children and their teachers … ?


Really ? Really ?

So, while Rousemary Vega, Chicago parent, is pleading for her children in the space of under two minutes, while she is fighting for the rights of students and teachers everywhere, the right to speak up and be heard … they mock her? They turn and ridicule her?

I am a teacher. When we see that kind of behavior in the classroom, we are obligated to address it. If it continues, prolonged, it is an indicator of bullying. And, even from way down here in Florida, this teacher can call their behavior exactly what it is … bullying.

Yes … bullying. And do you know what they teach us to do when we see bullying? Stand up to it … recognize it … report it.

So, Chicago Board of Ed Members Bienen and Hines … shame on you. Consider yourself REPORTED ! And for the rest, everywhere, remember : We are watching – we will speak up – we will not be silenced, shamed, or bullied.


Here is the video from that meeting. Watch the amazing Rousemary Vega, BADASS MOM, as she speaks up for children and teachers:

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