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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 miles for the New Captains of the Gate New Jersey Teachers

Today 10 miles is dedicated to Mr. Bass and Newark New Jersey’s New Captains of the Gate. I found them at NJTV News community room on June 30, 2015. Shout their names to the heavens, and tell the world all is not lost. Our Captain have spoken out, they are standing on that bridge of hope for us. Shout their names:
Dr. Monica Taylor, Associate Professor State University,
Al Moussab, East Side High School,
Liz Carletta, East Side High School,
Antonio Iglesias, East Side High School, and
Terry Moore, Save Our Schools March, Our Children/Our Schools
Just when it appeared Governor Christie and his for profit education reformers could not be beat. When NJTV called saying sorry Jesse.. Christie bumps your truth….

Dr. Taylor, Terry Moore and Liz Carletta and Antonio Iglesias showed up at the Lincoln Memorial in Newark saying ready to walk Walking Man?
So we walked, and soon joined by Communities United and the Newark Students union. Marching together into that Community room at NJTV, and we held the bridge to hope.
As I sat hearing Dr. Taylor praise her East Side High Teachers, and those teachers praise her as they shared their story of defiance. Governor Christie’s appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson told them their school had to become a “turn around school”, because of their low test scores….They researched every turn around they knew would eventually close, and become a for profit charter school.

They were told there was no choice, and they had to sign the Superintendent’s “turn around contract.”  Face with threats of school closure, retaliation and non renewals the teachers of East Side High school would stand together against these bullies of Ed Reform scammers. Parents and students stood with them as well. For in the eyes of the students and parents of East Side School, their school and their teachers were not failures, but successes. The teachers refused to sign on to Cami’s turn around deal. Ready for what ever was to come they stood united, they stood tall and strong. This show of strength ended up in keeping East Side High School opened and free from any turn around madness.  This story of Dr. Taylor saying this is not about education reform, but about injustice. She convinced the teachers to take a social justice stance, and teachers standing united, teachers taking their case to the people, and winning. This story needs to be told over and over again across the nation. These are my New Captains of the Gate.

Why called them New Captains of the Gate?
It was in the seventh grade that I first heard of Brave Horatius the Captain of the Gate. Mr. Bass went off the curriculum he gave his ghetto kids an epic poem Brave Horatius Captain of the Gate written by Lord Macaulay Thomas Babington. It was far above our reading levels, and much further from the experiences of the lives we were living. We moan, complained, and said it’s too long, it sounds strange. In today’s era of the Common Core no teacher would dare give his or her seventh graders such a poem. Mr. Bass would throw that Common Core out the window. He differentiated the curriculum not by reading levels, ability grouping, or any mandated curriculum. He differentiated the curriculum by giving students who lives had experienced three assassinations, (a president, a civil rights hero, and a senator), and saw hundreds of riots unfold daily on television. He differentiated the curriculum giving us what we needed to become men and women of honor. We were his students, the ones who saw anti-war protest every week on the evening news. Students who join right in when Barry McGuire started singing “Eve of Destruction.”
“You tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
Of destruction.”

We began to believe noting really mattered anymore. Our lives were living Barry’s lyrics…

“Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
And, tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve
Of destruction”

Seeing our acceptance a world on the eve of destruction. Knowing that not only was our world falling to pieces on the nightly news, it was also falling to pieces in our homes as well. So Mr. Bass deviated from the proscribed curriculum of Yankee Doddle Dandy.
He did what teachers since Socrates have done; he challenged his students view of the world. He sat on his desk, closed his history book, and asked us this one question. Since you believe this is the end of the world. Are you just going to roll over and die, or fight like hell to save it?
He read it once, again, and again, then had us read it together, and on our own. We started to like this Captain of The Gate, but were still far away from really understanding how it connected to our lives.
Then Mr. Bass had us turn the poem into a play, walk us to the park, and had us live it on a small dirt hill. Suddenly lines started to come alive for us, held meaning for us, and we shouted verses in that dirt hill of meaning.

“For all the Etruscan armies
    Were ranged beneath his eye,
And many a banished Roman,
    And many a stout ally;
And with a mighty following
    To join the muster came
The Tusculan Mamilius,
    Prince of the Latian name.”

Can you see it boys and girls Tuscan’s armies on the march?

But by the yellow Tiber
    Was tumult and affright:
From all the spacious champaign
    To Rome men took their flight.
A mile around the city,
    The throng stopped up the ways;
A fearful sight it was to see
    Through two long nights and days.

He said: Imagine an army so large you could see it two days before it even reached you….
Now picture Roman mothers, fathers, and children praying for a miracle…
Now imagine Great Rome Leaders debating what to do, all the while doing noting…
But the Consul’s brow was sad,
and the Consul’s speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall,
    And darkly at the foe.
‘Their van will be upon us
    Before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge,
    What hope to save the town?’
Just then a scout came flying,
    All wild with haste and fear:
‘To arms! to arms! Sir Consul:
    Lars Porsena is here.’
On the lows hills to westward
    The Consul fixed his eye,
And saw the swarthy storm of dust
    Rise fast along the sky.

See their fear, feel the hopeless, and see their world on the eve of destruction…
See Rome surrounded by the river Tiber…Hear the scots rush in saying all is lost Lars Porsena 100,000 soldiers are ready to cross the only bridge in. See the Roman Senators pulling their hair out, cursing the gods, and beaten. ..

Feel their world being crushed, Now Jesse rush up the that hill….Run Jess Then out spoke brave Horatius,
    The Captain of the gate:

“‘To every man upon this earth
    Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
    Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
    And the temples of his Gods,
‘And for the tender mother
    Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
    His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
    Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus
    That wrought the deed of shame?
‘Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
    With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
    Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
    May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
    And keep the bridge with me?’
Now run up that hill Jose, run George run….

“Then out spake Spurius Lartius;
    A Ramnian proud was he:
‘Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
    And keep the bridge with thee.’
And out spake strong Herminius;
    Of Titian blood was he:
‘I will abide on thy left side,
    And keep the bridge with thee.’”

On that little mound of dirt we would come to understand our world was worth fighting for, dying for, and more important living for. I have live my life striving to be that Captain of the Gate.
So teachers let us run up that hill. The time to stop that hoard of education deformers at the doors of our public schools is here. Join me as I walk to DC.
Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods”

This 10 is for those new captains of the gate that held the bridge in that community room
Dr. Taylor,
Al Moussab,
Liz Carletta,
Antonio Iglesias, and
Terry Moore who brought us all together to defend our public schools.
You my fellow captains,
Lift me,
Inspire me,
Compel me to walk,
Thank you,

If you are wondering what the Walking Man is listening to today on his's Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction";_ylt=A0LEV1tOo6ZVKOsAoIJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyMmNoam01BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjA0ODZfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=eve+of+destruction&


  1. The last remaining tribute to the New Captains of the Gate and a noteworthy one.
    Your walk continues to inspire.
    I was asked to report about your walk, especially the 3 days in NJ,@ the Save Our Schools Steering Committee and Our Children/Our Schools monthly meeting and it was received quite well.
    You ARE reaching many people.

  2. Thank you Terry my Jersey Walking Partner!