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Saturday, June 20, 2015

A tale of two men, one who sees data, and one who sees children.

Day number 10 is dedicated to the most amazing people, the people who have inspired me for as long as I can remember, our children in our public schools.
Today I give 10 miles to our nation's children.
You have always lifted me higher.
You have always helped me smile
You amaze and inspire me to walk to DC in the name of love.
My blog today is dedicated to our nation's students in our public schools. 

A tale of two men

As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan goes about his work in DC he meets with the powerful, the mighty, the wealthy. He wears his Giorgio Armani suits, and plays the occasional pick up basketball game with Congressional leaders, Senators, and even with the President.
He goes about his day wheeling and dealing billions of our tax dollars. He is a busy man far too important to spend any real time with teachers, parents, and children. When his day is done he smiles thinking about the important deals he made.
While Arne wines and dines the Corporate Elite I am walking to Washingto DC to protest the testing deals deals he makes. While he listens to billionaires, I am walking and listening to students, parents, and teachers. While he collects free lunches, I am collecting the narratives of resistance to his testing house of pain polices.  400 miles on the road, no limousines, no high powered lunches with the powerful and the connected, no calls from the White House, just two feet Walking to DC in the Name of Love. These Education Reformers have had the floor for 13 years, spent over a trillion dollars, and the data is in on their reforms. Their Education reforms have left our schools more segregated and our high school students knowing their reforms have not score this low in over 4 decades. Every curricula reform they have tried show either no effects, or a lost. While Secretary Arne Duncan dances with the elite, our children, our teachers our most needy public schools are being demoralized, humiliated, and abandon with every dance. I am not a walking man by choice. I am not an activist by choice. I have no desire to be away from my family, but I am compelled by my moral calling as a teacher to stand up for children, parents, teachers, and our public schools. Compelled by a moral calling to save our public schools I am walking to DC, because someone has to tell them after 13 years of education reform failures, they are not reformers, but the status quo. Someone has to shout out on the Capital steps:
Our Children,
Our Teachers,
Our Public Schools,
Hand off,It simple Wahington DC,
Children are more than test scores.
When my walk is over, I'll catch a ride home,
Teach a group of wonderful teachers from Jamaica about Literacy in our CCSU Literacy Center.
I'll teach them about what a balanced assessment framework looks like, kid watching,
and I share the heart of a teacher. I share my love of teaching, learning, and teaching with them, and listen deeply to their stories. After they leave I spend a week with my family in the mountains of New Hampshire. Then I'll start cleaning, decorating, and preparing our Literacy Center for 40 new children. This is what I love, what I really do, and what matters most to this Walking man.
He gives out plastic medals to struggling readers, wear silly hats, participates in Readers Theater, sit on the floor and reads with children and teachers.
I have no Giorgio Armani suits, but I do wear the best that Sears has to offer.
As Secretary Arne Duncan fiddles with the powerful, the rest of us fight the good fight against illiteracy every single day. When his day is done, he dreams about data, power, and new ways to reduce the wonder of childhood to his game of testing the joy out of learning.When my day is done, I think about the many hours of hard work put in by my teachers and our children, and celebrate every new letter, new word, new story, and every smile that came my way today.
I am marching to DC just to tell Secretary Duncan that children are more than test scores.
See you in DC,
Jesse My song of the day Barry Lane's More Than A number. Thank you Barry for singing the songs that matter most to us.

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