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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We counter the status quo narrative, break the silence, and keep on marching

Today is my third annual TEDxCCSU event in Connecticut. There are no seats available, the house is full, and we have 7 great TedxCCSU Talkers ready to share good ideas that just might change the world. If you are one of those tireless warriors fighting the status quo of 49 states spending more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools. You will recognized many of our speakers tonight, they speak truth to power, bring light into a dark world, and always change the narrative of hopelessness. For those of you who can't be here, don't worry in two weeks their talks will go online at The plan is to rock that house of testing pain and lies with truth to power.
So you say you want a revolution,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

Be gone you doom Sayers,
Be gone you voices of hopelessness,
Be gone you the voices of money,
Be gone you the powerful,
Be gone you the connected.

Mark well my words world,
We are the many and they are the few,
We are the people, and we are rising,
We reject silence,
We reject apathy,
We are:
Speaking up,
Standing up,

See in us those justice warriors of old reborn,
See in us the people's hope walking,
See in us change on the march,
For we are the people come to take back our democracy, our communities, and our schools.
We are the revolution you have been waiting for,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to know what this Walking Man from Jersey City where we watched those two towers fall, where we prayed for our loved ones, where we hope, were we grieved, where just when we thought we were broken, we came together....Today it's all Bruce Springsteen signing "The Rising" <

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Semper Fidelis Dr. Gentile


Before No Child Left Behind, before schools were racing to the bottom, before the Common Core, and High Stakes Testing came to save our schools. Teachers and students could be innovative, creative, and work on good works. This is one of those "Good Works" project I use to do with children and teachers. This one was called "Heroes Walk Among Us" Middle School students would identify heroes in their communities, invite them to speak at their schools, and they produces little movies about them. They filmed their hero interviews, filmed them at work, and interviewed their people who knew them.
The student above is interviewing two United States Marine Honor Guards at the
Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain Connecticut on Memorial Day where Dr. George Gentile just laid a remembrance wreath for his fallen brothers.

Our students loved Dr. Gentile, and each year new students would select him. He never grew tired of it, and neither did we. Dr. Gentile United States Marine and Iwo Jima survivor valued those good works, and he understand good works matter more than test scores. He died before the Common Core Standards came along and passed before testing became everything. Although we miss him dearly, I am glad he is not here to see how high-stakes testing ended our good works.

Rest in peace Dr. Gentile. I am doing my best to fight against this madness overtaking our public schools. I have drawn the line in the sand, marched into every battle, and I am still standing. I am able and ready, because I met you, because I shook hands with a gentle Iwo Jima Marine who always honor his fallen buddies, and lived his days doing good works.
Semper Fidelis,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you are wondering what song this walking man was listening to on his walk this afternoon through woods? It was "I rather go blind" by Playing For Change.
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Evaluate that!

Billionaires and hedge fund managers want to evaluate teachers, label teachers, rate teachers by the test scores of their students. These number crunches lack any sense of humanity.
Victor Hugo said "“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
I was a child whose father ran out, who was homeless once, and every statistic pointed to a dark future, but like that rose that grows in between the cracks I found my way to the sun. I am not special, just one of the lucky ones blessed by the helping hands of teachers, the clergy, great friends, and good neighbors who watered, fed, and nourished a soul lost in the dark. In other words, I am blessed by the people in my life.
Well those people blessing my life still feed this soul, this heart, and this walking man.
Some men crave fame, fortune, and power. I crave the the joy of giving and sharing. The best part of my teaching day is giving out cheap 10 cent plastic gold medals to children who never ever give up. I may not have the ear of the powerful, the connected, or the wealthy, but I know how to water those beautiful roses growing between the cracks. Evaluate That!
I see the face of God in the faces I meet,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to know what the walking Man is listening to this morning? It Ben E. King's "There Is A Rose That Grows In Spanish Harlem" > <

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Indifference is not a choice in the struggle to Save Our Public Schools

Elie Wiesel said “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
We may sit by while inequality in our public schools is left unchallenged,
We may remain silent while our children, their teachers and local schools are reduced to data points,
We may be apathetic to the placing of for sale signs on our public schools,
Or you can stand up,
Speak up, and
My name is Jesse Turner, and I have chosen to stand, speak up, and fight for our children, their parents, their teachers and their local public schools.
Still marching,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

My song of the day by "Talking about a revolution" by Tracy Chapman
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Parents, teachers & students it's time to occupy it all

Feds indict Byrd-Bennett in SUPES corruption case…/feds-indict-byrd-bennett-on-…/
No big surprise on Chicago CEO Byrd-Bennet's indictment people.
I woke and smelled that Ed Reform scams long ago people.
Why is there this big push to privatize our public schools?
Why is there this big push turn our public schools into charter?
Why the push to by mayors and governor to eliminate local school boards?
It has nothing to do with improving our public schools or the lives of our children. It's simple privatizing means "No Bid Contracts" for consultants, services, and purchases. It means politicians, policy makers, and their wealthy buddies can rob the public coffers without oversight, and laugh all the way to the bank.
Where do we go from here people?
We occupy America's
City halls,
Governor's Mansions,
State Legislatures,
School boards, and
Our public schools.
Whose children?
Our Children!
Whose Schools?
Our schools!
Whose tax dollars?
Our Tax Dollars!
Occupy it all,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to know what this walking man listened to on his walk this fall morning? It was Makana's "We are the many"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Plastic gold medals and the data that really matters

Their is the data that matters, and the data that really matters in a child's life.
The data that matters to policy makers and politicians are a child's test scores. The prize, a label of either below proficiency, at proficiency, or even above proficiency, and Golly another billion counted for testing companies.
The data that really matters is finishing your first chapter book.
Dr. Turner bows down to your great brain,
Your brain is so much stronger than Dr. T's
I salute your brilliant brain power,
Recognize your greatness,
And I publicly bestow this gold medal upon you on this your day of glory.
He could care less about your proficiency levels, but he'll never forget his first chapter book and that 10 cent plastic gold medal forever.
Children are more than test scores,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to know what I was listening to on my walk this morning? It Sly and the Family Stone "Everybody is a star" > <

Friday, October 2, 2015

Empathy it's my teaching superpower

In this new millennium, policy makers, the wealthy and the powerful are radically altering the goal of public education from preparing citizens to preparing obedient workers. They are driving out the arts, music, recess, and reading and writing for pleasure. They have ruthlessly reduced teaching and learning to meaningless data points. They use money and a fear of the future to push standards without empathy, and their hammer used to enforce those standards is high-stakes testing. If they can't scare you then they'll buy you off.

Their high-stakes testing policies are some of the most inhumane polices ever written in the history of public education. What else, but inhumane should we call the reduction of America's children to either below proficiency, at proficiency, or above proficiency? Empathy brings humanity into the classroom not standards.  Leo Buscaglia said “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” The potential to turn a life around for teachers in our public schools to me is being able to feel empathy for the students we teach. Empathy is understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or to see yourself in their shoes. It means teaching with compassion for every student in your class.
What is not driving high-stakes testing and the Common Core? EMPATHY!

                                         That is me second from the left some 55 years ago

Recess, milk, cookies, art, play, music, story time, and empathy ruled my kindergarten experience. In between we learned our ABCs, our colors, and to count. We were reminded to say please, excuse me, no thank you, yes Sir, no Sir, yes Mam and no Mam. We learned to share, be kind to one another, and to apologize when we did wrong. No one ever gave me a standardized test. No one ever labeled any of us with proficiency levels. At 60, and 4 university degrees later I still believe those things matter more than twenty-first century high stakes testing and the Common Core.

See the child, not the score,
Be the teacher not the enforcer,
See the wonders of God's own creation,

Walk in the shoes of others,
Be the kind touch,
Be the smile in the life of another, 
Be the kind word,
Be the listening ear,
Be the honest compliment,
Always, always, always be the smallest act of caring.

Become the teacher you always dream of becoming.
Wear your empathy like your armor, and let no power on earth steal it from you.
Trust me Empathy matters!

For as Natalie Merchant said you are the wonder of God's Own Creation....So as that gentle rain fell on my walk through the woods today I listened to "Natalie's "Wonder" > <