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Friday, November 20, 2015

Parents you hold every card. Opt Out!

What if we see the child not the test score?
What if the center of all learning became the child not the standards?
What if teaching became the focus of education and not testing?What if we respected teachers?What if we respected childhood?What if we told all those snake oil Education Deformers to leave our children, their teachers and our public school alone?
What if vigor not rigor became the focus of teaching and learning?What if individuality not conformity became the goal in teaching and learning?
What if rather than spending a trillion dollars on testing and standards we started spending that money on tutors, the arts, music, school libraries, and more Physical Education?
What if rather then measure children by proficiency levels in reading, we gave them time to read real books?
What if we decided the best way to educate poor children, second language learners, and children of color is to teach them the same way we teach wealthy children?
What if every parent opted out of this insane plan to our children into data, profits, and test-scores?
What if we teachers started hinting and whispering parents you have the power?
What if parents realized they have the power to change it by opting out of testing?
Parents you hold all the cards,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to what this Walking Man is listening to on his walk over the Avon Mountain's Barry Lane singing Hallelujah at the 2011 Save Our Schools March.
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Word is Save Our Schools March, BATs UOO, and dozens of other groups are going back to DC this July.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Try a little tenderness

Try a little tenderness!
Awarding plastic gold medals to children for reading chapter books is the only data that really matters here. It is November, and 28 out of 32 children have now read new chapter books. The other 4 are close to finishing their first chapter books.
We don't use rigor,

We don't even ask for SBAC data.
We could care less about the Common Core,
You won't find CC standards on our boards.
However on any given day you'll find children and teachers working hard.
On any given day you will find empathy, humanity, and hope in every teaching and learning moment.
We don't need a standardized test to tell us how our children are doing.
Kid Watching gives us all we really need to know.
We don't follow the data.
We follow the child.

There is the data that matters, and the data that really matters.
The data that matters to policy makers, politicians, and education deformers are test scores. That data does not inform us about the learning potential of our children. It does not drive learning, but it does drive the failing education policies only they love.
The data that really matters is the data gather while teaching. Every other piece of data is pretty much useless to children and teachers.
Plastic Gold medals are my smiles, and those smiles are my data.
Dr. Jesse Patrick Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director

Want to know what this walking man was listening to this morning on his walk? It's Ottis Redding singing "Try A Little Tenderness ".
>;_ylt=As4Ry0qaZ..S8.EuHF0Jh36bvZx4?p=youtube+try+a+little+tenderness&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-901&fp=1 <

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Change always begins with the number 1

In a world where our public schools are seen as testing factories, and where standards without humanity rule.
We find students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community activists in an intense struggle to save our public schools.
You may say what can one person do?
I often ask myself that very same question every morning I rise.

Some days I walk for justice,
Some days I march justice,
Some days I hold a sign justice,
Some days I speak truth to power for justice.

Some days I comfort a parent whose child is struggling,
Some days I help a child in need of hope find it,
Some days I listen to a fellow teacher who needs a friend.
Some days I blog,
Some days I post a hopeful image,
Some days I write letters to editors,
Some days I call legislators and policy makers asking where is the humanity,
Some days I tweet out truths.

Every day I just teach with a heart full of love.
Every day I teach I learn from those I teach,
Every day empathy and humanity drive my learning and teaching,
Every I see children not test scores.
Some days I am just a good husband, good father, good brother, or good neighbor,
What I have come to realize is doing something positive matters.
The people who change the world are always doing something positive.
One person always matters. Change always begins with one person.
Trust there is immense power in the number one.

Today let us all be that one person,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to hear what this walking man was listening to on his walk over the mountain this morning.  It was Eric Clapton's "Change the world"

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mr. President, we want equity, empathy, and humanity not Common Core Standards

Is the above our new image of segregation in the Twenty-First Century in America?

The 14th Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded in our nation's 1954 landmark Brown Vs the Board of Education: "Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group...Any language in contrary to this finding is rejected. We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. 
61 years later, 22,462 days later I find our public schools more segregated than ever, not only by race, but by poverty. 22,462 days later I find 50 states and my nation compromising on equality at every step, and committed not to equality in our public schools, but to scams that harm our nation's children, their parents, their communities. Chief Justice Warren was clear: "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." I view high-stake assessments and the Common Core State Standards as clear evidence that we as a nation are in violation of the law, and more importantly of our moral obligation to our nation's children. I see no evidence that thousands of new charter schools have done anything to desegregate our public schools. I would even argue that their creation has increased segregtion in our public schools.

Common Core Standards do not differentiate instruction for individual learners.
Common Core Standards do not valued our rich linguistic, racial and cultural diversity in America.
Common Core Standards cannot adjust for poverty.
Teacher licensure examinations cannot measure a teacher's ability, willingness, and competence to differentiate learning for all learners.
In reality any set of standards that limit themselves to benchmarks of performance without understanding that learners drive learning not bench marks become examples of intolerance.
Any set of standards that are intolerant to the natural diversity within our communities, schools, and classroom are:
1. Inherently bias against learners with special needs,
2. Inherently bias against multilingual learners,
3. Inherently bias against learners living in poverty, and
4. Inherently bias against immigrants and children of color.
Any teacher licensure examination cannot measure a teacher's ability, willingness, and competence to differentiate learning for all learners is not work the paper it is written on!
Any set of standards that promise to save our public schools without requiring equity in our public schools are not worth the papers they are written on!
No education reform without equity for all is not worth researching.
No education reform that fails to affirm our nation's rich tapestry of diversity is rooted in bias against the very nature of who we are as a nation.

We will know genuine education reform by the only standard that really matters EQUALITY in our public schools.
We will know genuine education reform that affirms children, parents, and teachers by the standard ensuring we lift every voice.
We will know genuine education reform that affirms children with special needs by its empathy, its humanity, and its love for all children.
We will know genuine education reform that affirms all learners by its efforts to provide wrap around services not for some schools, but for all schools.
We don't want your Common Core Standards.
We want equity, empathy and humanity.
If your education reform can't begin with these, than you cannot claim to value all children.
Silence and apathy are not acceptable,
Dr. Jesse Patrick Turner

If you like to know what song I was listening to on my walk this morning, it's Sweet Honey and the Rock's "eye on the prize".

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The first ripples have already gone out!

Salutations students, parents, and teachers,
A teacher from Nevada said she feels the need to stand up and fight back against this culture of test and punishment destroying public education.  She said like you I feel this is a moral call to fight back, but I sometimes feel alone in this battle. Sometimes I wonder if one moral person makes a difference against the powerful, the connected, and the greedy. Trust me sister one person always makes a difference.

First, I am an academic that knows the research. Research has always indicated an over emphasis on testing leads to more behavior problems, more special needs identifications, and higher drop out rates. Our politicians and policy makers were told this by academic after academic from the start. I know because I have told them from day of No Child Left Behind.  Margaret Mead said” "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  Trust me research and telling the truth matters!


Second as an academic I have followed their data on closing the achievement gap, and the evidence has consistently shown their policies are failing, and at this point even growing the achievement gap. Trust me data matters!

Third, yes this is a moral battle. It goes deeper than test scores, privatization, and greed. This is a battle that will determine if we as a people are willing to define our nation’s children as gifts of love, or human capital. Are they data spots on some grand scheme to label every single child either above proficiency, at proficiency, or below proficiency? Or are they our truth tellers born to right our world. Will we as a nation treat them as capital to be manipulated, or loved and valued as truth tellers in our mist? Trust me how we see our nation’s children matters!

Fourth, no one armed with the truth is alone. While I may be an academic, I am also a man of faith. It is my faith that guides my activism. In Isaiah 41:10 I find encouragement, inspiration and my strength.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Trust me faith matters!

Finally, one person armed with the truth can change the world. It may not happen all at once, but one narrative of truth grows to two, and two to three, and on and on until that truth becomes power. One way to fight this is to witness truth. Share it whenever and wherever you can.
If we find ourselves holding a sign alone that saying "Children Are More Than Test Scores" on a corner it matters.
f we share truth with one other it matters. If we join other truth tellers it matters.
If we stand-alone speaking truth to power it matters.
Every person standing alone speaking truth to power becomes a tidal wave of truth that no power on earth can stop.
You alone telling the truth matters.
You and I telling the truth together matters.
Every tidal wave can be traced back to that first ripple in the ocean.

Trust me one person speaking truth to power matters!

Call us the first ripples,
Jesse The Walking Turner

If you like to know what song this walking man was listening to on his walk this morning it's "Love Rescue Me" from Playing For Change....

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A society that values readers does not close librairies and schools in it's poorest communities

There is no standardize test that makes a reader,
Reading makes a reader,
Choice makes a reader,
Time for reading makes a reader,
Teachers and students reading together make readers.

Teachers don't need a standardize test to tell them who is a reader.
Teachers can see it,
Teachers can hear it,
Teachers can feel it,
Teachers can create reading moments.
Forcing teachers to comply with test and punish mandates does not make readers.

Salvador Dali did not need a standardize test to tell him he could paint.
He could see it in the paint residual on his hands.
Michelangelo did not need a standardize test to tell him he could paint.
He could feel it in the drops of paint stinging his eyes falling from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling.
Painting makes good painters.

Reading makes good readers,
Choice makes good readers,
Time to read makes good readers,
Access to books makes readers.
A society that values readers open new libraries, and fills every school with books. 

A society that does not value reading closes libraries and schools.
A society that cuts funding to libraries and schools does not value readers.
We don’t need any standardized test to tell us our politicians and policy makers don’t value readers.
We can see it in the budget cuts to local libraries.
We can see it in the billions spent for new sports stadiums.
We can see it in every tax break for billionaires. 
We can see it in the opening of every charter school that closes a local public school.
We can see it in the fact that 49 states spending more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools.

It’s time to stop these policies of test and punish, and to begin an era of celebrating reading in our libraries and public schools.
It's time to read,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
Everyone know hats make you a better reader, and pirates are good reading teachers.

If you really like to know what the Walking Man is listening today it's "Gotta Keep Reading"

Monday, November 2, 2015

Imagine Humanity Immigration reform 2015

As I watch the millions of refugees fleeing war to Europe I can’t help thinking about 11 million human beings living in hiding in America. There but, for the grace of God. I am the grand child of Irish immigrants.  One side fled famine, and the other an oppression that outlawed their language, their history, and songs. I am an American who not only knows where he stands today, but remembers where he came from.
There is an old Irish Rebel song "Some say the devil is dead" we used to sing it after the Ceili (Step dancing) was done. After we crowned our champions. When the after gathers pulled out fiddles, tin whistles, mandolins, Uillieann pipes, banjos, bodhrans, for a good old Sean-nós.  Where we lost our American for a few hours, where we became Irish once again, and old songs reminded us of long journeys through famine and lost holding onto an enduring love of who we were. Where anything was possible, where freedom rode songs, and we were all freaking brilliant singers. After a pint or two he would jump up on a table, dance his jig, and start it all off. He would be joined on that table by one of our champions, the drink would be pouring like water, and the singing would begin….

"Some say the devil is death"
But more say he rose again,
Some say the devil is dead,
But more say he rose again, and
Joined the British Army....

On July Fourth we sing Yankee Doodle, shoot fire works, and sing God Bless America. But on the days we were Irish, and the dancing and story telling were done, we were immigrants, and we rode on songs.
One brother fought in the 16 rising for Ireland’s freedom, and the other fought on the Green Fields of France for America in the war to end all wars.  One lives to have sons who would fight in World War II, and the other became the tears of lost we still sing about on the days we are Irish.
I love being the child of immigrants. I love being the grand child of Irish immigrants. Somehow it makes me more American. I remember driving my grandfather home on those Irish nights. The old fellow never understood why one brother had to die, and the other lived.  How he never saw him laid in the ground, never held his mother and father at the grave. It’s an old story, an immigrant hurt felt by millions fleeing their woes. As soon as the key started the car, he would say little Jess take me by the river. Take me where I can see that beautiful lady and her lamp. Behind the old ballpark we would park the car, and walk out to the pier. We would watch that Lady of the Lamp. He would share his stories of two brothers running through fields, jumping on horses bareback, and throwing stones at imaginary giants. Stories of who would get the girl, who would win Ireland’s freedom, and who would go to America. He would say the dice were thrown long ago.
He would look me in the eye, and say you’re an American, but that Orange, White, and Green runs deep in your soul. He would end the night pointing to the Statue of Liberty, and say we fought for her. No other nation in the world threw open her doors to all comers.
As the first ambers of the morning Sun started breaking on cue he says do you know her my American grandson? That’s Emma Lazarus Little Jess? She was the young Jewish American Poet who won the world’s heart with her poem “The New Colossus”. Then he would start:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Only after he paid his tribute to Emma could we go home. He would sleep it off on the drive.  Those rides would help me understand what makes America great is far more than being born here.
“Some people say devil is dead
 "I say he rose again”
And joined the haters, the door closers, and those lamp extinguishers.
I say he rose again, and joined we can’t pay a living wage,
He rose again saying Unions are evil leech sucking demons,
I say the devil rose again, and
He joined those who say “11 million Lamp Seekers should be deported,
I say the devil rose again, and join the “we can’t” do immigration reform.

So come at me all ye haters,
You can’t touch this child of immigrants who rode a ship into a bay where Emma Lazarus’s New Colossus held her lamp calling out:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

An America who can’t do immigration reform just aint America,
Jesse The Walking Turner  

If you want to know what this Walking Man listened to this morning on this beautiful Fall morning? It's my grandfather's favorite Irish Balladeer Paddy Rielly singing "Deportee" written in remembrance of a plane crash that killed migrant Mexican laborers on their way home from America.;_ylt=AwrBT8N8fjdWsp8AvzVXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA3lmcC10LTkwMQRncHJpZANtSFJZa3h5QlJkQ2QxQlZJaVN0akhBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMxBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzI4BHF1ZXJ5A3V0dWJlIHBhZGR5IHJpZWFsbHkgZGVwb3J0ZWUEdF9zdG1wAzE0NDY0Nzc1Njg-?p=utube+paddy+rieally+deportee&fr2=sb-top-search&fr=yfp-t-901&fp=1