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Sunday, January 25, 2015

I am walking to DC again in 2015

I Love Public Education
I cried the first time my Mother left me at your door,
I would learn to love you with every morning cookie and container of milk,
I would love you more with every song we sang within your hallowed walls,
I found your love in every teacher’s smile in your halls
I loved the reverence and respect you showed our flag every morning.
When the evil darkness of assassination
took the life of President Kennedy ~ you were there,
You calmed us, and helped us understand that although things could never be the same ~ our nation would be mended,
You kept us warm during the winters from 9:00 to 3:00 ~ when there was no heat in our old cold-water flat,
You were there when they murdered our heroes Martin and Bobby, to help us wipe away our tears,
You ensured that although they were taken from our world ~ these men would remain in our hearts forever,
You gave us hope through the riots and the protests,
You gave us color when there were no crayons in our homes,
You gave us poetry to ease our pain,
You gave us poetry to celebrate our lives,
You gave us history to give us roots,
You gave us geography, the stars and the moon landing ~ just to let us know we had no boundaries,
You taught us mathematics and science,
But most of all you gave us literature,
You gave us a love of books,
You handed us a little more of our dreams every single day,
You were there, year after year, as we spent our summer vacations under the cooling spray of fire hydrants ~ dancing in the streets,
As every summer ended we longed for another school year to begin,
You were beaming with pride at every graduation,
My loves still grows
I am confused by:
A nation’s leaders ~ who bash public schools at every opportunity,
An American media ~ that ignores 150 years of noble service to our nation’s children,
I find myself distraught ~ by the titans of industry, who blame you for every social ill, while they drink from the cup of plenty, time and time again,
I am troubled by their mantra of testing will save us,
I am saddened by their infatuation with fictional heroes like Superman, and homage to those with no real classroom experience,
I am bewildered by leaders who say teachers are the essential ingredients to success, and then in their next breath say our teachers are not good enough.
All I am I owe to you,
I can’t remember one single standardized test,
I do remember teacher after teacher telling us those tests were no measure of who we really are,
I remembered loving Mr. Bass’s reminders that poor boys and girls could be anything they dreamed,
His boys and girls were more than test scores,
We were his endless possibilities,
Yes, I love public education,
I love public education enough to fight for it,
I love public education enough to stand up for it,
I love public education enough to take it back from the
The billionaires club,
The politicians,
The policy makers,
The ones who only see test scores,
The ones who count numbers not tears,
The ones who refer to America’s children as “Data”
Yes, I love public education; enough to walk to Washington DC again in 2015.
Forever in your debt,
Jesse Turner

If you are wondering what song I am listening to today it is Jonh Legend's Selma ><

Friends, I have this deep down spiritual feeling that this is the year we shatter their walls of testing pains. If you happened to be free on July 23-26, consider joining us for the BAT Teachers Congress. We plan on taking our fight to the halls of congress, to the senate, to the White House. I bet a 1000 BATs, SOSers, UOOs, parents, children, and teachers walk that last mile with me. Momma said "You can trace the origns of every tidal wave to a single drop of rain" Come join our wave? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A new narrative of love

Martin Luther King said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

My dear friend Kris Nielsen, asked for some advice about addressing an audience tonight on Badass Teachers Facebook page. > <
He asked what should I tell them.
So I said, tell them that Ed Reformers live in fear, sell fear, they fear the future. Their mantra of fear is, your children won't be able to compete in the twenty-first century. You need to be afraid of the future. Your children need tough love, more rigor, more testing. Know that these very same people pushing this fear-do not send their children to our public schools. Their children attend schools of love.
Kris, tell them you come in the name of love. A love of children, parents, teachers, and our public schools.
Tell them one man is walking in the name of love from Connecticut to DC for them.Tell them they are loved. Tell that I am walking for them.
One Man Walking In The Name Of Love To DC,

PS, did I say it's official I am walking to DC(-: You can find all about my walk at And if you want to find out more about my first historic walk to DC. From Mark Larson from his "Legion of Davids" an online community that shares the efforts of education activists. Here's Mark's 2012 interview with me about the genesis of his first walk to DC.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Here I am Lord, let me be their radical witness

Dr. Mark Naison the founder of National Badass Teachers Association, asked all 52,000 BATS.  To become extremist in their actions to defend children, teachers, and local schools.  When I heard Dr. Naison call,  I remember a dreamer unjustly jailed. A man of the cloth, a man of God, a man of love. He who wrote a letter from his prison prison. He call upon American to become extremist for love. He wrote : “Was not Jesus an extremist for love? . . .then he asked: "the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.” So I am answering Dr. Naison's call, and I am answering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. question. What follow is my extremist plan of love for our nation's public schools, their children, and their teachers.

Ring every bell; shout it on every street corner, in every hamlet, and from every mountaintop.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner is walking to Washington DC again.
Tell everyone you know that silence and apathy are not acceptable, when children are turned in data and profits.

Tell every parent,
Every teacher,
Every child,
I hear their cries.

Tell the President,
Tell every Senator,
Tell every member of Congress,
Tell the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan,
That them that the people have a witness,
Tell that witness is coming to DC,
 Proclaiming an end this reign of testing abuse.

Tell every BAT, that the Walking Man is timing his walk to their Washington DC Congress,
Tell parents, students, and teachers I plan on meeting a 1000 parents and teachers on my walk.
I will open my heart, open my soul, and listen deeply to their stories,
I shall carry their tears, their hurt, and hopes to DC,
I will be their witness in in our nation's capitol.

Who Am I?
I have no money,
I have no power,
I am not connected to the politically powerful,
I do not dine with millionaires and billionaires,

Who Am I?
I am an AFT Legacy teacher,
At eight years old, I heard a man share a dream in DC in 63,
Holding on to my grandfather's hand that dreamer's dream,
Fell sweetly into my heart,
Where I have held it closely,
Where it comforted me on dark days,
Where it built my character,
Where it planted my integrity,
Where it planted my hope for better days,

Who Am I?
I am an AFT Legacy Teacher,
And that dream empowers me,
To walk,
To march,
And to bear witness to injustice,
Witness to the 12 years of abuse to our nation's public school children and their teachers.

So you tell everyone,
The Walking Man is coming to DC.
The mission is 400 miles
40 days,
Every step a blessing,
Heeding Martin's call to be an extremist for love,
Love, love, love,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner If you want to know who I was listening to on my walk today? It was Barry Lane "Jesse Turner Walking Man"