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Sunday, July 19, 2020


Is this really what our children imagine when they hear us talking about going back to school?

Just stay seated ~Dr. Jesse P. Turner

Keep your mask on,
Keep your distance,
Just say seated.

Shaking hands,
High fives,
Sharing pencils,
Just stay seated.

You cannot go to:
The library,
The gym,
The cafeteria,
Just say seated.

You cannot:
Sit next to someone on the bus,
Take your mask off,
Jump rope together,
Play basketball,
Just stay seated.

Stay seated,
Stay seated,
Stay seated!
If you like to hear the tune that I listened to on my walk this morning its Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds > <

Friday, July 10, 2020

What Every School Faces This Fall

Like my brother, Bronx Principal Luis Torres, I am hurting tonight. I can't imagine how Principal Torres will handle the NYC decision when it comes. Luis has my love and support in whatever comes his way. Trust me whatever it is he will do it well.
But, today it hit home here for me. I am the CCSU Literacy Center Director. I have decided our Fall Literacy Program must be an online program. I sent my decision to our Department Chair on Monday. She supports it. It is not what any of us wants, but it is what is needed.
It is not what we want, but this is the only CDC COVID-19 Risk-Free level. A virtual program is safest. I am facing the biggest challenge of my career, creating an engaging, exciting, and worthy online Literacy Center Program for our children, parents, and teachers.
I just could not imagine a program of children and teachers separated by plexiglass, wearing masks, with sanitizing stations, and no real way to clean our social places, our common walkways. The deal-breaker: to ask young children and teachers who may be wearing masks all day long to come to our afterschool program to wear them again is beyond me. We always have some teachers with compromised immune systems, and some children as well.
I have requested that our Literacy Center be the hub of the program. I would run the program in Zoom mode alone online from the Literacy Center using multiple screens with daily zoom community meetings for children and teachers. Hoping they allow this, but not sure. Something tells me we still need to sense a brick and mortar place. I will find out. At 65, I am going to find out many things. At 65, I have nearly 40 of experience to make it work. 65 like 25 remains an embrace it moment, Mr. Turner.
Like Alexander Hamilton, I am not throwing away my shot! I am planning on a Fall program rich in empathy, love, and amazing because that is all I know how to do.
Need prayers, love, and good vibes tonight,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director
If you want to listen to the song that I listened to on the day I made the decision to go back virtually? Its Crosby, Nash, and Young's Teach your children cover by Play For Change.

Monday, June 29, 2020

400-Years of Injustice and Trauma Dehumanizing Public Education numbs all

Coretta Scoot King said: “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity, and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.” 

A friend said that I sound like a broken record sometimes. She said I get it, but to be honest, I do not believe what happens in our schools will ever change. Just being honest Jesse.
I can't remember what my actual reply was, it must have sounded like another Jesse Broken record event. Some honest moments are signals not meant to open discussion but to close it. I get it, I move on, but the discussion continues even if it is with myself. 

My rhetorical reply to being a broken record.  Is recognized this numbness that makes people think nothing will change. Is the greatest weapon bigots have. They don't need to beat us, arrest us, kill us, all they need do is numb us. Foster a belief we are helpless. They win because we do not see ourselves capable of being the change agents we are meant to be.  Marcus Garvey said: 
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is our only ruler; sovereign.”
I live and teach in a world that seeks to number my "Sovereign Mind." Every day I work to keep to free my mind from the mental slavery of injustice, hate, and inhumanity. 

My broken record recording: Is this history of 170 plus years of inequity for Black, Brown, and Special Education Children. A history informing me that this inequity and injustice is not random? An account that informs us it is intentional. I am not a broken record. 
I am one of those Garvey voices of a "Sovereign Mind" calling to liberate all. 

Call me a working educator rising above the numbness of this School To Prison Pipeline destroying Black and Brown children. 
The history of inequity in our public schools? History informs us there never was a time of equity for all children, their teachers, and their schools. 
My thinking is racism in our public school system is a never-ending trauma that numbs teachers, parents, and children. What we teachers must come to understand is numbness is not good, it masks pain. Our children are hurting, and the system fosters paralysis harming and abusing Children, their parents, and teachers. I am no broken record. I am one of the many voices of truth asking teachers and parents to rise up.  

Numbing Questions:
When teachers ask why are our Black and Brown parents not speaking up?

When Black, Brown, and Special Education parents ask why are teachers not speaking up? 

When students ask why are adults not doing something about what happens to us in school?
I have heard these questions for nearly 40 teaching years. My teaching and learning exist within in a trauma that turns our public education system into a numbness that harms and destroys Black, Brown,  LGBTQ, and Special Education children. I am not a broken record. I am another voice asking where is the humanity? 

How do parents and teachers rise up?

We rise up in our classrooms, our homes, our communities, our union halls, our town halls, our statehouses, courts, and we vote numb leadership out. Numbness can be seen in the number of voters who did not show up in 2016 at the pollsWe had 231,556,622 eligible voters, 946.9%) who did not vote. Over 110 million voters did not vote. 110 million numb minds needed to end the numbness that empowers White Supremacy and hate. Why, because half of our voters believe their votes would not change anything. Call me the broken record crying be the voters that vote out this numbness hiding how strong we can be. 

Being WOKE is not a broken record, it is our record for liberation:
Being a WOKE teacher to me equals an understanding that numbness hides systemic racism.  If you teach in Black and Brown communities you too are numb. If you teach in White Communities, you are numb. Make no mistake numbness in our schools grew the four police officers that killed Geroge Floyd. Numbness in America's public schools endangers Black Lives.
Fight the power, 
Organize, and 

Voting the only thing that has actually ever changed anything.
VOTE above the NUMBNESS. 

It is our duty as teachers to:
Reject silence and vote out numb leadership. 

Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Moral Monday CT Education Ambassador 
Uniting to Save Our Schools National committee.
Proud member of the


If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk? Its 'Wake Up" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes