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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I am an SOSer, a street fighter against the tyranny of pain known as NCLB

I am an SOSer
I am going to Washington DC, 
I am relentless,
I am unwavering, 
I am still marching.
I am Jesse The Walking Man Turner.

Bruce Springsteen sings in Rocky Ground
"Rise up shepherd, rise up
Your flock has roamed far from the hills
Stars have faded, the sky is still
Sun's in the heavens and a new day's rising
The angels are shouting "Glory Hallelujah" 

I am a Shepard rising up. 
I am traveling over rocky ground
Glory Hallelujah!
I am calling for A Gathering of Shepards' 

I clearly remember that day, 
some 45 years ago ~
when my father abandoned us.
I was 10 years old, 
This time, I took the slap that was meant for Momma.
I fell to the ground,
 but I got right back up ~ ready for the next.
He knew it was time to go.
And so he did.
Before we knew it,
 we were on the streets.

Momma tells me I was born fighting for life. 
We knew Thanksgivings without a turkey,
The Christmas without a tree,
The winter without heat, or electricity,
Lived in emergency housing,
Know that a loaf of wonder bread and a jar of mayonnaise can be a Thanksgiving feast for the hungry.
"There go I,  for the Grace of God ~ one of Mom's constant sayings.
I was taught to be grateful for what I have,
There is always someone far worse off.
Our schools and libraries were warm, 
reading is magic by candle light ~ in a house without electricity.
My teachers made a difference, everyday.
Just by being there to teach.
Who says "Poverty doesn't matter?"
Poverty Matters America!

Momma and my teachers taught me to stand up for what is right.
I learned about justice and hope at home and in school.
I found heroes on the book shelves at my local library.
I didn’t have much, but I had Momma, teachers, and books.
Growing up without a male role model is hard, 
but I found Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mocking Bird”. 
Atticus Finch, 
moral hero of heroes 
in a narrative that can be found at every local library.
I read it with Momma every night for two weeks straight ~ by candlelight.
Momma cried when Tom Robinson died, 
we both fell in love with Boo Radley, the reclusive hero.
Harper Lee’s book was the first family read in our home.
To Kill A Mocking Bird ~ a narrative to take to the bank.
the kind of books 
that these Education Reformers and their Common Core Cheerleaders say 
children need less of.
These reformers who say we need to test everything.
These reformers who say we need computerized tracking systems 
tests for every subject.
During these days of tight budgets 
one might wonder
"How will these reformers pay for their reforms?"
Their plan is to make schools compete like Greyhounds. 
Run them until they drop.
Increase class size.
Underfund libraries.
Hire drive by "pension-less" teachers who come and go.
Attack teachers.
Attack Schools of Education.
Attack democratically elected Boards of Education.
Attack everyone who dares to fight back. 

In the words of Atticus Finch
They're certainly entitled to think that, 
and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... 
but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  
The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule 
is a person's conscience." 

Momma was right ~ I was born fighting for life.
Momma your boy was also born to fight injustice.
America ~ reading narratives can give poor boys a conscience!
Perhaps, Who Knows, 
is that why they want to replace narratives with non-fiction?

Tell it on every mountain top 
the Walking Man is coming to DC ~ year # 3. 
Send it in a telegram to Secretary Status Quo Arne Duncan
I will fight the injustice of his policies.
His policies that reduce children to test scores.
His policies that remain quiet, as poor communities have to slash the budget of their library in order to pay for Duncan's unfunded mandates... 
His policy that forces special education teachers to spend their days 
writing reports, attending meetings, 
and not teaching children in need.
His policy that allows for the madness that increases class size 
in order to pay for computerized testing.
Washington DC policy that spends billions on Duncan's mad Race To The Top.
Policy where some children win,
 and some lose,
 in schools that are forced to compete for limited resources. 
Tell the world,
 I am going to DC, again.
Just to tell our nation's leaders,
 and those fake DC reformers, 
that children are more than test scores. 
I am still walking,
I am still marching,
I am still blogging,
I am a proud SOSer,
A fighter against the tyranny of Race To The Top.

It’s simple, America.
Silence and Apathy are not acceptable,
especially when it comes to our children.

Meet me in DC at the Save Our School People’s Education Convention 
Friday August 3rd to Sunday August 5th, 2012.

Just another Shepard 
traveling on Rocky Ground,
Jesse ~ The Walking Man ~ Turner.  

The song taking me all the way to SOS's People Education Convention in DC this Friday August 3, 2012 is  Bruce Spingsteen's Rocky Ground


  1. Just in case anyone wants to join the Walking Man and the faithful this week!
    Save Our Schools: A National Call to Action
    for further information
    Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
    cell (239) 699-0468

    * * * M E D I A A D V I S O R Y * * *

    WHAT: Save Our Schools People’s Education Convention

    WHEN: Friday, August 3, 2012 2:15pm
    Sunday, August 5, 2012 12:30pm

    WHERE: Marriott Wardman Park hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington, DC

    WHO: Keynote speakers include:
    - Fri. Aug. 3 7:30pm – Professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige “Early Childhood Teachers
    Say No! to Early Academics and Testing”
    - Sat. Aug. 4 8:30am – Attorney Shanta Driver ““Building the New Civil Rights Movement: Why We Need Direct Action to Defend Public Education”
    - Sat. Aug. 4 4:30pm – MacArthur “genius” award winner Deborah Meier “Democracy and Education”
    - Sat. Aug. 4 7:00pm – author Jonathan Kozol “Fire In The Ashes: Victims and Survivors, Kids and Teachers in Public Schools Under Siege — How Do We Fight Back?”
    - Sun. Aug. 5 11:30am – civil rights attorney Rose Sanders “The Uprising: United People Reclaiming Our Intellect and Nurturing Generations”

    Among the many well-known workshop leaders also scheduled to appear at the Save Our Schools Convention are Uniting4Kids Executive Director Angela Engel, FairTest Executive Director Monty Neill, student lobbyist Nikhil Goyal, Parents Across America leader Karran Harper Royal, and DePaul University Professor Michael Klonsky.

    The full program is online at:

    WHY: In addition to speakers and workshops, the event will develop strategies on key education issues including testing, privatization, and school funding. SOS participants will also refine platform planks for the “People’s Principles for Public Education,” which will be presented to both national political parties before their upcoming conventions.

    Save Our Schools is organized around four basic principles:
    - Equitable funding across all public schools and school systems
    - An end to high-stakes testing used for student, teacher and school evaluation
    - Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
    - Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies

    Note to Journalists: - For media credentials and other details about covering the Save Our Schools Convention contact Bob Schaeffer at (239) 395-6773.

  2. Thanks Jesse. I'm not walking but I'll see you in D.C.

    1. Looking forward to that DC gathering of resisters to this madness that reduces children and teachers to test scores. Looking forward to meeting the Mighty Cajun Lee Barrios this week.