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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Mr. President, Friendship does not trump Racist Policy

Will someone please tell the President that the revolution will not be televised on CNN, or MTV. Tell him instead it's a rising chorus of discontent; reaching from sea to shinning sea.  And  this week it was in Washington DC where 220 African American Civil Rights Leaders called Obama's education agenda "Racist"

Now you can talk about your Rock of Ages
Talk about Gideon
Talk about David and Goliath
But Mr. President be warned
An army of Davids' are coming.
They are marching with Save Our Schools
They are standing with Parents Across America
They are on Facebook with Testing Is Not Teaching
They are parents, students, and teachers (PCAPS ) rocking that boat of unjust school closures in Philadelphia.
They are that noble coalition of concerned citizens in NYC known as NYCoRE
They are the 140 spreading the word online and in the streets  with Dr. Mark Naison
They are standing with Karen Lewis, and her glorious Chicago Teachers Union
They are writing on Teachers Letters to Obama
They are blogging with Valerie Strauss, Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, Anthony Cody, and Fred Klonsy
They are standing with the Garfield High School teachers in Seattle
They are students speaking up against high stakes testing in Providence, Rhode Island
They are Opting Out with United Opt Out the National Movement.
They are working to open your eyes to Secretary Duncan's lie at Dump Duncan on FaceBook
They are standing with C.O.R.E. that beautiful Caucus of Rank and file Educators in Chicago
They are parents from LAUSD calling for an end to this testing madness, 
They are informing a nation of the NCLB/RTTT lies at FairTest in Massachusetts
They are CELTers writing resolutions against this insanity that reduces children to test scores at NCTE.
They are our Early Childhood Heroes at DEY (Defending the early years) labeling this madness an abuse against children.
They are standing up for equity in Selma, Alabama at the Education Summit for the Selma Jubilee,
They are in Boston with Citizens for Public Schools,
They are our old and true Social Justice Warriors at Rethinking Schools
They Are UMass Students saying No to Pearson
They are opt outers,
They are SOSers,
They are students,
They are parents,
They are Dream Act Children,
They are Latin,
They are black,
They are red,
They are yellow,
They are white, and every color in between,
They are listening to Tim and Shaun on "At The Chalk Face"
They are our respected researchers like Stephen Krashen
They are mothers and sons fighting for justice like Nancy Carsolm-Paige and Matt Damon
They are the 8000 SOSers, who marched in 2010 with Bess, Rick, Sabrina, Bob, Michael, Morna, Ruth, Amy, Betsy, Tim, and Ceresta.
They are your brothers and sisters
They have been there since the beginning with Susan Ohanian.
They are 220 African American Civil Rights Leaders in DC calling Secretary Duncan's Race To The Top Policy"Racist"
They are too many to list.
We are the masses,
 crying out for justice in our public schools.
We are your people
Mr. President
suffering from an unjust education policy
one that reduces children and their teachers to data
and places for Sale signs on our local schools.

Mr. President the time has come to ask Secretary Duncan to resign.
Friendship and loyalty must not trump racist policy.

Let me hearken you back to another messager whose birthday our nation recently celebrated,  Dr.  Martin Luther King fought a war on poverty.  We are still fighting that war. We reject President Ronald Reagan's perspective "The War on Poverty is Over, and Poverty Won". We refuse to study that lie. This isn't class warfare.  This is the most righteous struggle any human being can be engaged in.
This is God's work, this is Social Justice, this is Walking in the Light of Christ.
Still Marching with Martin,
Jesse, The Walking Man, Turner

If you want to know what song the Walking Man is listeing today it is "We Shall Over Come"


Friday, January 18, 2013

Who needs to talk race, poverty, and inequity in America's Public Schools? Especially when we have those very objective and so safe Common Core State Standards.
Mike Petrilli linked article (All A-Twitter about Education).  I'm a bit confused by it's claim tweeters are sort of talking past each other. Mike is one of those George Bush's DOE devotees who woke up in 2007, and found NCLB wasn't working. He found some new religion in the Common Core, a new job as Executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He is twitter user, blogger, and policy advocate. 

My response to Mike Petrilli's obsession for counting twitters: 
I find it amusing Mike Petrilli is keeping tally of tweets. Counting tweets does not discount America's children are more than test scores. Or that desegregation is still the prize not new testing, or new standards. A prize America loves to ignore. Who wants to talk race when we can talk testing data? A decade later, and a nearly trillion dollars spent on NCLB/RTTT policies that still leave millions of children behind. America’s urban schools are becoming choice zones that leave our public schools more segregated than ever.
As Mike’s is counting twitters America’s urban schools are fast becoming the new projects.
In between some of those reform tweets is a view that testing and standards are the cure for poverty. A cure that seems only to speed up that good old public school to prison pipeline.
RTTT policy is a "testing cure” that every billionaire, and for profit school ventures love to love. That objectivity sounds old school, so very objective, and so very 20-century eugenics to me, .
An NCLB/RTTT policy by their own data leaves nearly 80% of America schools as failing. Of course states can always get a Secretary Arne Duncan’s bondage waiver, and pick up tens of millions as they pass that RTTT Go sign.
You remember the policy Mike Petrilli advocated while working at the President Bush’s DOE until he left.  The policy he discovered was not working after he left his NCLB lapel pin behind in 2007. Praise the lord he found his new religion in the Common Core. The one he ran to support when Indiana wanted out. Imagine if the Common Core turns out to just another policy lapel pin cure for poverty rooted in that old carrots and sticks approach similar to NCLB?

Well in my humble opinion neither testing nor national standards will save our public schools. You can bet they won't end racial isolation, economic isolation, or poverty. Come to think of if thse NCLB scores are all good then there wouldn't be a need to segregate at all. It would be a kind of second coming for those old separate, but equal dreamers.
I rather imagine a real federal commitment to desegregating America's public schools?
Skip the RTTT wavers,
Skip the Common Core State Standards, and Certainly skip the high stakes testing.
I rather America start holding it’s states accountable for failing to desegregate their public schools.
Rather than U.S. DOE counting RTTT bondage wavers Secretary Duncan might reward communities for actual moves to desegregate their public schools. This doesn’t require new testing or standards. We already have a built in moral standard with Brown V. Board of Education. All it requires is counting already available segregation data, and connecting Federal funding to real increases in those desegregation numbers. 
As Mike count tweets I’ll be trying hard to survive the policy mandates that reduce children and teachers to test scores.
In between teaching, learning, surviving mandates I'll take a few weekend trips. Going to the Selma Jubilee Educational Summit again this February, ( the DOE 2.0 in April, ( and once again walking to DC this summer.
Desegregation can’t be tweeted away, and is not some Race To The Top. It is still the law of the land that states are out of compliance with.  Brown v. Broad of Education threw out Plessy v. Ferguson. Perhaps Mr. Petrilli this is the line in the sand for any relevant school reform discussion some 117 years later. This is still about the the savage inequities that refuses to acknowledge desegregation is the prize. I reject the notion that proficiency measures are the path to desegregate America’s public schools.
Still Marching, 

Jesse The Walking Man Turner
Guess what the walking man is listening today? How about a little Undisputed Truth Smiling Faces (

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Since when did 2nd graders reading about rape make sense?

Should 8-Year-Olds Be Reading Stories That Glorify Rape?

After her 2nd grader was assigned a story that glorifies rape and extols whiteness as the standard for beauty, a mother tackles bias in elementary school literature head on. 

People you can't make this s__t up.  Childhood innocence will always come second to standards driven by proficiency levels. We have 3rd graders reading Tolstoy in New York as part of the Common Core. We are even being told our kindergartners should start preparing for college.

Who are these people? My thinking is they are a bunch of fools. The same fools who are putting for sale signs on our schools, reducing children to data, and bashing teachers. The very people who do not send their own children to public schools. Madness, madness , madness, and more madness. 
My daughter is 23, and she is home for the holidays from graduate school. I get going to college people. She turned out to be a beautiful person, but I so dearly miss reading Roald Dahl's Danny Champion of the world and E. B. White's Charlotte's Web. What parent looking at their children in their adulthood thinks why didn't I rush them quicker through Childhood? Childhood is such a waste of time. If only they could be born adults.
What about the standards of holding a child's hand, walking, climbing trees, exploring, and imagining a world of friendly dragons.
Who are these Ed Deformers rushing childhood?
... Children Are More Than Test Scores,
I am walking to DC,

If you want to know what the walking is listening's Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spreading the News links from the amazing Bob Scheaffer

Happy New Year to the resistance, 

In 2007 almost no one criticized NCLB. In 2008 Race To The Top had few critics either, in 2009 there were no Anti NCLB groups on Facebook. In 2010 resistance to NCLB/RTTT was growing on Facebook. Still on my 2010 walk to DC I felt lonely and alone on most days. In 2011 8,000 people marched to DC with Save Our Schools. In 2012 Opt Out Occupied the DOE in DC, and Save Our Schools Held a School Reform Convention in DC. The point is the tide has turned, and resistance to NCLB/RTTT is growing. Opt Out is going back to DC April 4-7 for Occupy 2.0: The Fight For Our Public Schools, and Parents Across America and Save Our Schools are still marching. So start spreading the news people this is no longer a one horse town. See you in DC at Occupy 2.0 people.
I am walking to DC,

The new year kicks off with another excellent set of stories about the growing assessment reform movement and the many flaws of test-driven policies.

Sixth-grader Persuades WashPost Columnist to Support Testing Moratorium

Testing Scam Puts Public Schools at Risk,0,1595639.story

Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment Op Ed -- "School Testing System Badly Needs Fixing"

"The True Cost of High-Stakes Testing" -- Powerpoint presentation by Orlando School Board Member

What Research Really Says About Florida's Test-Based "Reforms"

Gates Teacher Evaluation Scheme "Trapped in a World of Circular Reasoing"

To Test or Not To Test -- National Opt-Out Day Debate

Race to the Trough and State Regs Force Change in Model Teacher Evaluations Systems

Test-Maker Ethical Problems in Dealing With Chicago Public Schools

Rhee-First Grades States on Education Ideology Not Results

High-Stakes Testing Won't Fix What's Wrong with Our Educational System

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
ph-  (239) 395-6773  fax-  (239) 395-6779
cell- (239) 699-0468 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No one is above the law, but Congress

I thought this one might interesting to those of us who are paying back student loans. The children of Congressional members do not have to pay back their students loans. Government by the people for congressional privilege. Congress we make the laws for other people to follow! 

As longs as the people who make the rules don't have to follow them we are a people bondage of inequity. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in A letter from Birmingham Jail That " Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" (1963). How many many humiliations must we endure. 
I am walking to DC,

You say you want a revolution by the Beatles
We sure could use one now people!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I am walking to DC

Anthony Cody wrote another excellent piece in Education week: "Education Reform Dichotomy: Big Choices Ahead", ( Anthony ask people to respond.
My response is let us act, let us continue to fight back, let us push Civil Disobedience to the max, children are suffering. This is the time to occupy, march, sit in, disrupt, and yes for the Walking Man to Walk to DC again. Silence and apathy are not acceptable. Since NCLB's birth over a decade ago we have see our nation's schools becomes more segregated, less democratic, spend hundreds of billions on failed reforms, false choice, demoralized both students and teachers via more and more meaningless testing.
My thinking is NLCB created one lost generation, and RTTT is losing another.
I don't see side effects Anthony, but Collateral damage that David Berliner wrote about in 2007 "Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools" Real lives have been destroyed by No excuse policy pushers.
Dialogue yes, but as Fredrick Douglas said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Let us admit the No Excuses group is not backing down, conceding nothing, and seeking more top down control. They don't see children they see proficiency scores, profits, and power. They don't dialogue, they don't listen, and they care about children. Dialogue to them is we talk you listen not us.
I am still walking, still marching, and I'll be occupying Secretary Status Duncan's DOE in DC in April at Occupy the DOE 2.0 : The Battle For Our Public Schools. After that I plan my next next walk to DC this summer.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
PS Read Anthony Cody's Blog, reply, and consider following him. I have always found him to be honest, fair, accurate, and informative.

Still listen to that old marching song Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around :