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Monday, September 26, 2022

Truth to power: About This Teacher Shortage: Our Policymakers and Reformers Have No Clue


Many policymakers and education reformers have little experience teaching. Those policymakers who have experience tend to make their way out of the classroom as quickly as possible. Sometimes I think it is because they never enjoyed teaching. 

They often desire to reduce teaching to some standardization formula. Often the very type of reforms dehumanize teaching and believe teachers are like mechanical parts on some assembly line. In the end, they do more to hurt the recruitment and retention of teachers than almost anything else. 

Dr. Elliot Eisner, Professor Emeritus of Education and Art at Stanford University, who brought a history of teaching in Chicago public school before he passed, describes six teacher satisfaction for teachers. I always love this one:

"Despite the beliefs of some well-intended technocrats, there are no recipes for performance, no teacher-proof scripts to follow. Teaching well requires improvisation within constraints. Constraints there will always be, but in the end, teaching is a custom job within which the teacher becomes an inseparable part of what is taught." 

If you like to read about his six teacher satisfactions? Dr. Larry Cuban's blog is well worth the visit.

Truth to Power: These policymakers and education reformers without genuine classroom experience have no clue how to recruit and retain our nation's public school teachers. 

We cannot standardize the desire to teach,

Dr. Turner 

CCSU Literacy Center Director 

Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes gave us a clue decades ago. Just in case you like to listen to this tune that inspired my morning walk. 

"Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way

Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to sayCause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their handsWhen you teach the children teach em the very best you can
The world won't get no better if we just let it beThe world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me" 
Teachers, we can do this! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

#OSOSTeachTruth and me


The idea that there are some places in America, that don’t want history teachers to use the term Nazis, frightens me.  I am committed to teaching the truth because it is the only lesson offering the possibility to change the world. 

My grandfather introduced me to Dr. King's Principles of Non-Violence at an early age. Back in our day, everyone walked to and from school. It was in second grade. You tended to walk with the same people. Robert always wore his Yamaka. I always thought it was cool, never really understood why he always wore it. 

5 of us young fellers would walk home together, horse playing around, boys being boys. Until one day John turned to Robert and asked why do you always wear that stupid hat? That eerie silence that comes with an impending crisis surrounded us. 

Now Robert was kind of small, I was somewhere between big and small, and John and the other two were giant bullies. We thought walking with them, laughing at their joke, kicking over a few garbage cans, and sneering at other kids, brought us protection. Boys being boys was not fun for Robert and me, it was our way of buying protection. 

I knew it as soon as the words left Robert's lips, I'm Jewish, that my Hebrew kippah. John started punching, and the other two join in and kept shouting punch the Jew. Robert was taken back, and for three of the longest seconds of my life, I stood motionless watching my friend being punched and kicked. On the fourth second, I became a Pitbull punching, kicking, biting, and shouting to leave Robert alone. Robert started fighting back, and while we did not win the fight, we won the war or at least a strange sort of peace. We kept our distance and they kept theirs. 

When I told my grandfather the story, he said son, sometimes you have to defend yourself, but I been in a World War, and my sons in another. Fighting things doesn't change anything. Then he started my education on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and that August shortly after I turned 8 years old, he took to “The People’s March in Washington DC. I struggle at times with non-violence, if you hit me, I am going to hit you back. Dr. King is the better man, I’m still working on that. I have so very far to go, but I am headed to that place. I still working on that not hitting back to being hit part. 
If you would like to learn more about the Principals of Non-Violence here is a link:

Grandfather, your namesake son has learned to turn the cheek, stand up for right, and to teach truth,

Love,                                                                                                                                                        Little Jess 

Just in case you want to learn some more about the National Days of Teaching Truth Campaign here is a link to a three-minute news story about it.

If you like to find out more about Uniting to Save Our Schools here is a link

Monday, April 18, 2022

Reading The Final Frontier

 “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ~ George Orwell, 1984

Florida Reject 41% of new school textbooks. “The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an "alarming" 71% were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics.”

Leadership in Florida reminds me that Orwell's 1984 may be more non-fiction than fiction. Here are the men who decide whose books make it into the curriculum. Therefore, Uniting to Save Our Schools is supporting the effort to make May National Days of Teaching Truth.

The fools, these mind controlling fools, they left us, our libraries, bookstores and the Internet,

Stranger then, fiction,                                                                                                                                      Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher

PS: 1984 is the most banned book of all time in the USA and always in top list in Russia.

It you like to listen to the tune from my morning walk today its  Propellerheads feat: Miss Shirley Bassey - History Repeating