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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Come Spring, this old school teachers is marching

Friedrich Nietzsche said: “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

I jump on no bandwagons,
I pay no homage to Education Reformers who claim to be able to mandate, legislate, reform teaching and learning inequity without fighting to fully fund all public schools,
I refuse to dance to these School Choice without Equity Pied Pipers.

I am an Old School Teacher,
I know where I stand,
I know that the privilege of owning myself requires me to stand up for my students inside the schoolhouse and outside it.

The struggle to Save Our Public Schools begins with the understanding that a Public School System spending more money to educate wealthy children than poor children is immoral.
Immorality should not have a safe haven in our Public Schools.

If fighting inequality and injustice in our public schools is not number one?
You are dancing to that Pied Piper of immoral Education Reform smoke and mirrors.

Our Union Struggles must not only be about ourselves. Our Union Struggle must be a moral one, demanding an equal and quality education for all children.

I stand on moral ground,
I do my best in my classroom,
I fight for children in and out of my schoolhouse.

We Old School Teachers must be more significant than ourselves,
Teachers marched in Selma,
Barbara Henry Taught Ruby Bridges,
She and Ruby owned themselves in a schoolhouse surround by hate.
Like Barbara Henry, hate shall not enter my classroom, my mind, my soul or touch those I teach.

Just call me, an old-time teacher,
A teacher who follows no Pied Piper,
I am going to march this spring testing season,
March against inequality,
March against 1.7 Billion Annual dollars for high-stakes testing, and
March against school choice without equity.
I may march alone,
But, I will be marching in the shadows of greater love.

Most of all, 
I will be my own teacher self,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Badass Teacher  

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk its Nahko and Medicine For the People - "Dear Brother"

Friday, October 8, 2021

Teacher Shortage, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

"Teacher demand exceeded supply for grades K-12 in the country's public schools by more than 100,000 in 2019 for the first time ever, according to the Learning Policy Institute, a Washington-based education policy think tank that has extensively studied the causes and effects of the teacher shortage." Link to source, worth the read > <

For the first time in years, districts are asking to refer our graduates and saying we are getting no applicants. They are asking for anyone close to certification for interventionists.

Now, Mayors, Governors, Board of Education members, district-level administrators, and Policymakers, help me understand this teacher shortage? Especially district leaders in Black, Brown, and Poor School-districts, where schools are understaffed, under-resourced, and underfunded. A child's learning conditions are teacher-working conditions.

You cut retirement and health benefits,
You offer below-inflation pay increases, or in some cases no increases at all,
You disrespect the professional judgments of your teachers,
You keep increasing class sizes,
You legislate new unfunded mandates time and time again,
You cut art,
You cut music,
You cut playtime,
You fail to staff school libraries,
You buy expensive data tracking systems that dehumanize teaching and learning,
You accelerate learning,
Give Professional Developments on Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice without resources, 
You pile more and more demands on teachers,
You ignore that your teachers work 15-30 extra hours a week without pay,
You blame them for low test scores,
You bully your teachers,
You disrespect and bully your teachers.

Now you find yourself surprised that you can't find teachers.
Trust me, the retirements will come quicker, and young teachers are going to leave sooner.
I am not surprised by this teacher shortage.
What surprises me?
Why are districts surprised?

Not in the least bit surprised.
Disappointed yes,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Badass Teachers Association

If you are wondering what inspired my morning walk its Barry Lane's "if you ever had a teacher" 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The data that really matters to teacher

In our public school system, chasing test score data, we often miss what matters. The plan is to sell parents' never-ending reforms while overlooking the vast inequalities rooted in our public schools. In this world, I find there is the data that matters and the data that really matters.

There is the data that counts and the data that really matters. Some data teachers upload to the cloud, and principals and Politicians love that data. There is, however, the data that really counts to teachers. It is uploaded into our teaching hearts. That heart data is what holds us strong, inspires us, but most of all, it reminds us why we became teachers in the first place.

The data that matters is standing right in front of me.

Myra grade 2: "Dr. Turner, you were right; there is a book for everyone."

Dr. T: "Did you find your perfect book, Myra?"

Myra: Oh, yes, "Too Loud Lily" is about a girl just like me. She is a little too loud, a little too bold, loves to dance, but her heart is golden."

Dr. T: "That does sound like you...Would you read it to the rest of the kids and me?"

Myra: "Of course, Dr. Turner, I have read it over 100,000 times; I can read it with my eyes close. I am going to use my teacher's voice. I am going to a teacher one day. Do you know what kind of teacher I am going to be?"

Myra: "I am going to be a Reading Teacher."

Dr. T: Myra, you just made my day."

See the child, not the test score,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director
Uniting to Save Our Schools

If you are wondering which song did Dr. Turner listen to on his morning walk today. Its Barry Lane's "More Than a Number" > <