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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Connecticut: "We Choose: Truth in Education Reform Task Force"

Once again, our Tax Dollars are feeding the Charter School Gravy Train. Wall Street CEOs are invited into our communities, given millions, millions more in tax breaks, Visas for their friends and families, and given the keys to our local public schools. This continues to happen despite NAACP and Black Lives Matter Moratoriums on New Charter Schools. 
Budget cuts are devastating our local public schools in Connecticut and across the nation. Our nation's legislators at every level continue fill that-for Profit Charter School Gravy Train. Hundreds of millions of our public tax-dollars given to for profit educators at every turn. All the while they are cutting local school budgets. 

This Monday is Columbus Day. It should be noted Columbus did not discover a new world. It was already here, but his coming did mark the birth of a deadly colonization that would decimate Native Nations and their peoples. Columbus had no right to claim a New World for Spain that he did not own.
Local Public Schools are already here. These Education Reformers for profit, have no right to use our tax dollars to colonize our local public schools.
This Columbus Day, this coming Monday, Connecticut Moral Mondays, SOS, BATs, Children Are More Than Test Scores join with "We Choose" National campaign plan to step up our fight for real equity, real justice in our local public schools.
We reject inequity,
We reject injustice, 
And we reject the colonization of our local public schools. 

This Monday we shall launch a "We Choose: Truth in Education Reform Task Force" to investigate School Choice Reforms in Connecticut. 
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

From where I stand, I don't see failing schools. I see legislators at every level, failing to fully our poorest schools, and giving away billions of tax dollars to CEOs to plunder our local community public schools.
If you want to listen to the song that inspired my walk ovwer the mountain this's the Black Eye Peas singing "Where Is The Love"

Friday, September 29, 2017

I am-I know why I march

I know who I am,
I know what I want,
Ain't no one gonna turn me around.

49 states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools,
I know why I march,
I know why I talk up,
I know why I turn up.

Forcing America's poorest schools to compete against each other for limited resources is not equity.
I know injustice when I see it,
I know children deserve better,
I know parents deserve better,
I know teachers deserve better,
I know America deserves better.

I know why I march,
Silence is a war against our children,
Apathy is a war against justice,
I know what that-Public School's Promise Land looks like,
And I won't stop until I feel it beneath my feet.
It doesn't matter how tired these feet become,
My heart is set on that promise land,
And I ain't stopping until I get there.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to listen to the song that inspired my walk this morning it's the Freedom Singers cover of "Ain't No One Turn Me Round"

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's always been hard times for Black, Brown and Poor Kids

In the Charles Dickens novel “Hard Times” (1854), we find School Master cold-hearted Mr. Gradgrind giving his newly hired teacher Mr. McChoakumchild this advice: “Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” It’s an old story of course, much older than 1854, and as current as ever. The setting Dickens creates is Coketown, an urban city, dominated by dark factories, the oppressed black smoke of never ending burning coal fires, and ruled by wealthy men driven by greed and profits. In other words, not much different then dozens and dozens of American cities of today.

Secretary of Education DeVos’s children, have never attended any Zero Tolerance schools, Common Core schools, or testing factory schools. Their classrooms, always had all the bells and whistles. Jean Anyon, wrote about the different in public school education experiences between poor and wealthy students (Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education 162, 67-92.) No one is surprise that schools in wealthy communities are better than those in poor communities, or that it’s poor schools feeding our prison population. The children of the wealthy are taught to speak up, ask the big questions, and told to follow their personal inquiries. Be creative, innovative, given plenty of time, plenty of support, learning project based classrooms surrounded by music and the arts. Their classroom sizes are small, and tutors are plentiful. Genius is not test driven, but performance driven. If behavior becomes an issue, you call in an army of counselors, social workers, psychologists, or these days life coaches.

Poor children are told to sit still, stay quiet, only speak when they are spoken to, walk in straight lines, and pack like sardines in classrooms. Music and the arts, well who needs that when all that is expected “
You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts”. If behavior becomes an issue you call the police.

What is surprising is that America keeps chasing the myths of mis-education policies of more rigorous standards and high-stakes testing. We have been on this bandwagon since 1892. If standards and testing worked? Wouldn’t we have seen it by now? We continue to double down on the two very policies that exacerbate inequities between our wealthy and our poor schools. My thinking is change must begin with equity at the very least.

I have even heard some experts state Black, Brown and Poor children learn differently. They need more structure and discipline. Well, I am not buying that. This is what they have had from day one of American public education. Black, Brown, and Poor children are taught differently in a public-school system deeply rooted in inequity and injustice. Michelle Alexander takes us where Charles Dickens could not go in 1854. In her book The New Jim Crow” she details a School-to-Prison Pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline is a national trend that involves taking Black, Brown and Poor students out of public schools and pushing them into courtrooms, juvenile detention centers and prisons. Rich children get Utopian schools, poor children get prepped for low wage jobs and prisons, and our policy makers and legislators wash their hands in new standards and more rigorous tests.

It always been hard times for poor boys and girls, but these days it even darker, and the last thing the Wealthy, the Powerful, and the Connected want is poor boys and girls in their schools. Black, Brown, and Poor Children don’t learn differently, but their schools are often dens of inequity.
What do we want?

When to we want it?
170 years of inequity, and counting,
Jesse The Walking Man

Turner If you like to listen to the tune I listened to on my walk over the Avon mountain today. It’s Lauren Hill “The mystery of iniquity’