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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

America does not have an Acheivement Gap, it has a Moral Gap

Robert Fulghum the author of "All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten said:
“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

Walking Man why fight these NCLB, RTTT and ESSA education reforms?

Fight because, reforms pushing Charter Schools, Vouchers, the Common Core, and endless Standardized Testing harm our children.
Fight because, for 15 years these reformers have failed our children, parents, teachers, and our most needy public schools.
Fight because, these reformers provide cover for injustice and equity in our public schools.
Fight because, these reformers have turned our children in to data and profits for CEO vulture profiteers.
Fight because, placing emphasis on High-Stakes Testing labels and tracks Black, Brown, Poor, and Special Education children into failure.
Fight because, education reform history and data have always demonstrated new rigorous standards and new high-stakes testing are merely more of the same old failed 100-year-old promises. Promises that have always done more harm than good.
Fight because, they limit imagination.
Fight because, they reduce a child myths, dreams, and hopes to data.
Fight because, their push for endless rigor is killing laughter and love in our public schools.

Walking Man why are you fighting these education reformers?
I have fought against these reformers under three Presidents: Bush, Obama, and now Trump.
I have fought against the education reforms of the five United States Secretaries of Education, Page, Spellings, Duncan, King, and now Betty DeVos?
I fight because their "Achievement Gap Policies" are a moral rejection of that first and foremost fundamental truth to "Do No Harm".
We Americans need to start asking our leaders; why school choice policies without equity have become the core of their education reforms?

Walking Man, how can we recognize harmful education reform?
Any education reform insisting that school resources do not matter?
Harms our children.
Any education reform insisting that class sizes do not matter?
Harms our children.
Any education reform insisting that poverty does not matter?
Harms our children.
Any education reform insisting that classroom resources do not matter?
Harms our children.
Any education reform abandoning and forcing our nation's poorest schools to close; while giving billions and special treatments to private entities to replace those schools with for profit schools.
Harms our children.
Any education reform that supports programs that place new teachers with less training and preparation in our poorest and most needy schools.
Harms our most vulnerable children.
Any education reform that spends hundreds of billions on reform programs to promote higher test scores as the solutions to childhood trauma, inequity, poverty, and the "School to Prison Pipeline".
Harms our children.
Any education reform that fails to powerfully support Music, Art, and Physical Education for all in our public schools.
Harms our children.
Any education reform that blames children, parents, teachers, and local public schools as the problem.
Harms our children.
Any education reform that fails to stalwartly support our nation's public school "First Responders", Parents, School Nurses, School librarians, Counselors, Special Educators, Literacy Specialists, Classroom Teachers, Music and Art Teachers, Para-Professionals, Custodians, Principals and Vice Principles.
Harms our children.
Any education reform that tracks and labels children.
Harms our children.

Walking Man isn't this a political fight?
This struggle isn't Red States vs Blue States.
This isn't urban vs rural communities.
This isn't wealthy vs poor schools.
This is not a political fight.
It is the MORAL fight of our lifetime.
Anyone Fighting to uphold that first and foremost fundamental truth "Do No Harm" in our public schools is engaged in a Moral fight.
America does not have an Achievement Gap.
America has a Moral Gap.

Are there education reforms we should fight for?
We should fight for education reforms that demand equity and justice for all children.
We should fight for reforms that demand art for all.
We should fight for reforms that demand music for all.
We should fight for reforms that demand physical education for all children every day.
We should fight for reforms that demand we reduce class sizes.
We should fight for reforms that demand special education services for every child in need.
We should fight for reforms that demand more Librarians, Media specialists, Literacy Specialists, Counselors, Math Tutors, and School nurses.
We should fight for reforms that demand that all schools be modern, clean and safe.
We should fight for reforms that demand wrap around services in poor public schools.
We should fight for reforms that demand summer education and recrational programs for all children.

Walking Man, have an idea Walking Man in mind?
Let us all walk out.
Let us all Walk Out, Walk back in, and hold an alll day Teach-in?
Imagine every parent, every student, and every educator walking out, then walking back in, and then skipping those old lessons, and holding a Teach-in Day across America in 2017.

What would such a Walk Out/Teach-in look like Walking Man?
First it means, no one stays home, no one abandons our public schools, or fails to educate our students. It would be a symbolic walk out, a walk right back in to teach about our nation's long struggle for equity and justice in our public schools. This walk out/teach-in requires parent organizations and community grass roots activist groups be deeply involved in the planning of all walk out, and the teach in events. To be not just supporters, but active participants from start to end.
We should "Walk Out" again at the last school bell sounds, and go rally for education reform that respects children, teachers. and our public schools at our state capitols.
It's just one idea.
It's not perfect.
To be honest any idea rooted in action are worthy ones.

But, what if everyone walked out?
These education reforms that reduce children to data and profits would crumble.
A simple democracy truth to power. The people hold the key to change not policy makers or legislators.
When we the people act together our children win.

What if no one walks out?
It does not matter as long as one parent is fighting back against education reforms that are harming our children.
Truth to power matters.
It does not matter as long as long as one teacher is fighting back against education reforms that are demoralizing and harming our teachers.
Truth to power matters.
It does not matter as long as one citizen is fighting back against education reforms that harms public education.
Truth to power matters.
As long as one person is fighting back hope lives.

Walking Man what can I do?
Coretta Scot King said: “I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.”
You can reject the violence of:
Public school neglect,
Punishing mothers,
Ghetto housing,
Lack of health care, and
Finally you can reject the violence of poverty at every step.

What should we call people who are indifference to school reforms that reduce children to test scores?
George Bernard Shaw Irish author, humanitarian, and Nobel Prize winner said:
"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity."
If we are silent?
We are sinful.
If we are apathetic?
Then we are sinful.
When education reforms are indifferent to inequity and injustice?
Education becomes inhumane.
Inhumane education reforms are sinful violent acts against our most vulnerable children.
Such reforms cannot be labeled the moral actions of a nation who cares for all children.
The time to stop talking Achievement Gap, and start talking Moral Gap is now.

Called me one moral man looking for a million moral others,
Jesse The Walking Turner

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my walk this morning its Steve Earls Steve Hammer >

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Marcus Garvey said: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Where does the Grand child of an Irish Immigrant learn about Marcus Garvey one of Jamaica National Heroes? He learned about Garvey from his Irish Grand Father who loved watching the world go by, and always recognized a fellow brother in arms. Marcus Garvey is an Jamaican exile little Jess. England made many exiles in their own lands. I like Garvey Little Jess. Put him on your reading list along with W.B. Yeats.

Where does a grand child of immigrants learn about his roots? Not in school people! Not in some bar! He grabs the passing stories of he/she hears as their elders pass. He/she reads it in the books not assigned at school. He/she hears it in the songs never played on the radio. He/she feels it in the dancers all around him.

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick Day. I was blessed by Irish immigrant grand parents who left us a legacy of cultural thirst. It was understood and appreciated that school would teach us American history, but faith and everything Irish was left to to them to teach. We learned history through our Irish Rebel songs. We just don’t play them, we discussed them, we debated them, and we learned from them. Our history crossed that ocean in song and poem. We learned that Ireland long a province be, a nation once again. you come to know Ireland heroes through our music. Through Irish music we learned that neither 800 years of oppression, or the Great Famine could keep us down.

We learned to pray on your knees as soon as we could knee, We learned that while our faith may not be perfect, but in our darkest hour it will carry us through any storm. For our faith is our rock.
We found pride in our dancing, and we learned that our dances carried our souls across that ocean. We are Lord’s of the Dance.

Immigrant Grand Parents Thomas and Kathleen taught their children to celebrate Irish conversion to Christianity on Saint Patrick’s Day not plastic green hats and drink. It is a day of holy Obligation not a party. We go to church, we pray, we give thanks, we watch the parade, and we eat our tri-color dinner of Cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. We reflect on who we are, who we were, and who we shall stay.
Our 20017 plan for my wife and I is just like our first Saint Patrick’s day together 33 years ago in 1984 simple Mass at Saint Patrick cathedral, watch the parade, but in 2017 we eat dinner with our now New Yorker daughter, and remind her green hats and beer haven’t anything to do with being Irish.

So very Blessed to be the Grand Child of Irish Immigrants who came to call New York home, and who made it and us Irish,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to travel down that memory lane when New York was Irish (When New York Was Irish by Mary O’Dowd) Happy Saint Patrick Day, Jesse The Walking Man Turner

Yee Mighty Young Ones Rise Up

Malcolm X said: “I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin...”
Malcolm X anticipated a different future. He understood that change is bigger than faith, skin color and class. He challenged us to draw a new line in the sand. A line between those who fight for justice for all, and those who fight to maintain injustice. The old world is crumbling, the old lines are fading, and our young people are different. As Bob Dylan sang long ago..."The times are a changing" The struggle between being oppressed and the oppressors has always been real. White Nationalism is coming out of the shadows, but the future I see is at Black Lives Matter rallies where I see a hold lot of White and Black Hand holding, at our Women's Marches, and at those rallies against the band at our Airports. Change is riding a new wave, a young wave, and they are tearing down old walls every day.
Rise up young ones,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to here what inspired this Walking Man to walk on this snow cold day....its Bob Marley's "Stand Up For Your Rights"