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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Change requires creative transformative marchers

Dr. Martin Luther King said “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” at the age of 8 in 1963 I found myself in DC listening to that voice of creative transformation. Martin set the bar higher than I can ever reach, but I can reach. I am proud that I am playing a small part in the Save Our Schools Coalition "People March" at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC this July 8. 

If you think it is wrong for 49 states to spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools? 

Then come march with the people.

If you think spending 1.7 Billion dollars on testing while school budgets all across the nation are cutting services to children?

Then come march with the people.

If you think inequity must not be the corner stone of public education in America?

Then come march with the people.

If you think children are more than test scores?

Then come march with the people.

If you think poverty matters?

Then come march with the people.

If you want to end the School to Prison to Pipeline?

Then come march with the people.

If you think teachers are more than test scores?

Then march with the people.

If you believe that children, parents, teachers and public schools matter more than test scores?

Then come march with us.

If you believe you believe justice deserves to be front and center in our public schools?

Then march with us.

If you want to change bitterness occupying education reform into a transformative creative force that honors and respects childhood, our youth, their parents, their teachers and our local public schools.

Then march with us.

The bar is high, but everyone can jump.

See you in DC all you creative transformative marchers of hope,

Jesse The Walking Turner
Our creative transformative demands
Our choice is to rally and march to Save Public Education To stand for Justice In Washington DC this July 8-10 

If you want to know what this Walking Man listened to on his walk this was Bruce Springsteen version of "We Shall Over Come"

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Rise Up" Lets talk about the fighter I see in you

A conversation in the key of the broken and tire teachers of the world

A teacher friend called me late last night.
She said I am tire and broken.
I can't go on any more.
I am leaving.
No one cares about children, teachers or public schools.
I can't stay without losing my humanity.
I am not a robot.
I am bleeding for my students, and no one cares.
I am alone and lost.

My reply...
I too am broken,
I too am tried,
I too feel alone,
The only thing keeping me standing is you.
I can't leave my students to the robots and the heartless.
On my knees I beg you Please, Please, Please stay.
Of course I'm crying,
My staying depends on your staying,
We can walk it out,

Lets go over that Avon Mountain on Saturday,
Lets walk and talk about the fighter I see in you.

Some verse and Andra Day's Rise Up Lyrics

For you the broken down and tire ones,

You are beautiful,
You inspire me,
You are loved,
In you I see the face of God,
In you I feel God's grace,
I hear Andra Day's Rise Up singing:

"You're broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can't find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up
High like the waves
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
For you [4x]"

For you my mother, my father, my sister, my brother, my fellow teachers, for you are God's people.
Tell it on every mountain I am blessed by walking together with the tire and broken.
We gonna walk it out,

Jesse The Walking Man TurnerIf you like to hear Andra Day's "Rise up"
If you want to walk it out together come to DC 7/8/16 and march with us the no longer broken, the no longer tired, come rise up together.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Imagine all the people defending public education this July 8 in DC?

W.E.B. DuBois our nation's great voice of justice and civil rights for people of color said: “Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental . . .The freedom to learn . . . has been bought by bitter sacrifice. And whatever we may think of the curtailment of other civil rights, we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn . . . (The Freedom to Learn, 1949).

Sometimes I find myself, standing in those defending the right to learn ditches wondering where is everyone else.
I find myself saying, children are more than test scores. Why is the whole nation not shouting it out?
I find myself saying, 49 out of 50 American states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools. I wonder, how my people have not voted out of office every one of those 49 governors and their legislative bodies?
I find myself thinking, how is the funding for testing endless. While funding for services for Black, Brown, poor and special needs children is always the first to be cut when states cry poverty.

I find myself wondering, how can Ed Reformers force poor schools to compete against each other without equitable resources? While at the same time states give billions to Charter Schools and Magnet Schools to compete against Black, Brown, and Poor public schools? Choice without equity has always been the wrong choice.
I find myself wondering, how our schools are re-segregating faster 62 years after Brown v The Broad of Education? Why everyone is not in the streets demanding we will not go back?
I find myself wondering why are so many of my brothers and sisters not defending these last ditches of the right to learn?

What I never wonder is where I will be standing. I'll be standing in that last ditch defending equity and justice in our public schools. You’ll find me with my sign It’s Time to End this School to Prison Pipeline. You'll find singing "ain't nobody gonna turn me around".
We the last ditch defenders are gathering to defend the right to learn in Washington DC  at the Lincoln Memorial July 8.

President John Adams wrote about public education to John Jebb in 1785: “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.” 

I have no doubt that if Dubois and Adams were here today they say it's time to march Walking Man. 
There is a verse Isaiah 1:17 that guides me each day. 
“Learn to do good. 
Seek justice. 
Help the oppressed. 
Defend the cause of orphans. 
Fight for the rights of widows.”

Sometimes I find myself imagining, what if everyone learned to good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defended the cause of orphans, and fought for the rights of widows? Come that day the Prison to School Pipeline falls, the era of Test and Punish ends, equity and justice become the only standard for public education in America. On that day 
Come join us ditch defenders of the right to learn in DC this July 8,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to hear the song that this Walking Man listened to on his walk's John Lennon's Imagine > <

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marching & singing "I am willing, I am open, so lift me up to the light of change"

Imagine spending billions on annual testing while cutting essential school services and closing public schools. Welcome to ESSA the new nothing has change test and punish public education policy. ESSA maintains annual testing testing that cost $700 to $1000 per students. Do the match 50 million public school children...It's billions people. Spending billions as you close schools, lay off librarians, counselors, social workers, special education teachers, reading specialists, teachers, and classroom aides is evil. Politicians and policy makers save our schools with a testing testing moratorium today. To continue to cut essential services while spending billions on testing is simply immoral.
Come July I'll be Marching in DC,

Jesse The Walking Man Turner 

If you like to listen to the song I listened on my walk this morning it's Holly Near singing I am willing. > <
Join me in DC this July singing Holly Near's song I am willing...
"I am open and I am willing
To be hopeless would seem so strange
It dishonors those who go before us
So lift me up to the light of change" 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Connecticut is waking up today!

D.U.E. Justice Coalition "March for Fairness"

 Mon, 04/04/2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
IB ImageJoin AFT Connecticut and our allies in the D.U.E. Justice coalition in holding legislators accountable for failing to protect our state's quality of life during the 2016 General Assembly session. The coalition will issue report cards based on how legislators have voted and then march to the Legislative Office Building to directly lobby our lawmakers.
On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, civil rights, community, and labor organizations came together to fight for Democracy, Unity, and Equality (D.U.E. Justice), and a new coalition was born. The groups agreed to continue Dr. King’s fight to end racial and economic inequality. This march is taking place on the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination in 1968.
Senator Robert Kennedy said "It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task." I have been blessed with a career that allows me to teach children and teachers. It's never been easy, it takes a great deal of work to teach well, but the rewards at the end of the day make it all worth while for me. Like a drummer all I really want to do is teach. When I first started teaching children were not data, they were children. Teachers were not data, they were teachers. Today Education reformers in Connecticut have decided they can balance the budget on the backs of our poorest children and our poorest public schools. Today I can't bang on my teaching drum. Today at 5:PM in Hartford at the Capital I am committing my mind and my body to the task of marching for children, parents, teachers and our public schools.
Banging on the drum of justice with my Moral Monday brothers and sisters,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to know what I'll be singing on the march in Hartford today...its that old Ain't Nobody Turn Me Around > &lt;