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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I am a Save Our Schools Zombie

I will stand with thousands of activists from around the nation at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC this Friday. The predicted temperature for the rally and march is 100 degrees. I will rally, march, and learn from activists who understand nothing changes until the public take to the streets in massive numbers. Public education is Civil Rights. Civil rights activists know that truth alone will not bring change. Truth not accompanied by people marching will not bring change. Truth has always been on the side of justice.  I am marching again. Marching with activists that understand our public school system is deeply rooted in inequity and injustice.
As a member of Moral Mondays I understand that justice requires truth on the march. I understand racism, injustice, and inequity have defined our public schools for well over a 100 years. I don't want to go back to pre-NCLB, I don't want to tweak the system, I don't want more band aids, I want an education revolution for justice and equity in our schools. I am marching to shut down inequity and injustice. I am marching for the public education all children deserve.

Black, Brown, Poor and Special Needs Children don't need
Choice without equity,
Tougher standards,
New rigorous assessments,
Tough love curriculums,
No excuse teachers,
No excuse schools,
Alphabet education reforms, 
Hedge Fund managers,
Children deserve
Wrap around services,
Real libraries, with real librarians,
school nurses,
Professional teachers not two year resume builders.

Most of all children deserve public schools deeply rooted in a pedagogy of humanity and love. Supported by a nation that cares enough to support all it's schools.  A nation that lifts children, their teachers and public schools up. Not a nation that closes down their most needy schools. Not a nation that throws it neediest children, their teachers and their school into pits of only "the strong will survive" pits of school against school pits.
Children deserve a public school system that doesn't educate them on the cheap, that doesn't compromise equity, but fully supports "what they need" to learn.
I am marching, because every education reform of the past 15 years from LNCB, RTTT, high-stakes testing, School Choice, privatization, including ESSA have failed Black, Brown, Poor and Special Needs children. Over a trillion dollars of Federal Tax Payer Monies have been wasted on the most massive education reforms failure in the history of American Public Education. I am compelled to march again, because ESSA changes nothing.
I am marching because the wealthy, the powerful, and the connected have decided data does not matter, poverty does not matter, equity does not matter, and that our children, our teachers, and our public schools are their profits.
Something you should know. I was marching before NCLB.    

I have been called
A idealist,
A dreamer,
A Don Quixote,
And yesterday I was called a Save Our School Zombie.
Call may call me whatever you like.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

If marching with:
My NEA and AFT rank and file brothers and sisters from all over the nation,
My fellow Moral Monday leaders, Rev Barber and Bishop Selders,
Dyett Hunger Strikers,
Brother Jitu and Journey 4 Justice,
Karen Lewis and CTO,
Barbara Madeloni and MEA,   

Detroit teachers and parents,
Newark Students,
Philly Students,
Baltimore Students,
Parents and students from Chicago, and from every public school system under attack,
Makes me a Save Our School Zombie than I wear the name proudly.
I'll wear it like Dr. Martin Luther Kind wore the label of outside agitator. I wear it proudly just like my grandfather who in 1963 took his grandson to the Lincoln Memorial to stand with his those fellow outside agitators who dared to listen the aspirations of our nation's greatest dreamer Dr. Martin Luther King. I will wear whatever name people call me with dignity and honor.
My years of fighting for civil rights, equity and justice have taught me the only thing that truly matters for real change is.
Are you willing to march?
We Moral Monday people say TURN UP.
Are you willing to stand for something that pushes you to risk stepping outside your ivy towers, outside your safe places, and off your couches? Are you willing to TURN UP?

I am marching with a coalition of the just who demand a education revolution rooted in

   Full, equitable funding for all public schools
   Safe, racially just schools and communities
   Community leadership in public school policies
   Professional, diverse educators for all students
   Child-centered, culturally appropriate curriculum for all
   No high-stakes standardized testing.

The only question I have is how could you not march for these?
Jesse The Walking Man Turner 

If you like to listen to the tune this Proud Rank and File Union Walking Man is listening today it's Lenard Cohen's  "Solidarity Forever". 

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this today. This is magnificent--thank you from the bottom of my heart, Jesse!