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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Public notice to all under preforming elected officials

Dr. Mark Naison from Fordham University recently reported our elected officials were concern about our public schools. He explained their Education Reform plan to underfund our schools, and force our poorest and most needy schools to actually compete for limited resources based on test scores. He reported you are willing to save tax breaks for the wealthy, the connected and the powerful.

We were shock of course about your lack of listening skills. So we the people gather together to evaluate your performance. We found it severely lacking to say the least. Here is what we found:
Hello Local Public Elected Officials,
Let us be blunt with you. In these difficult times, we are not going to vote for officials unless they show results. The data clearly points to below expectations performances. You are in need of a rigor, grit, and tough up intervention program. Now I'd like to be kind and say those results could be demonstrated:
Higher wages for working people,
Make the wealthy pay their real share of taxes,
No more welfare for giant corporations,
Fully funded schools,
Wrap around services, and sport programs,
Adult educations classes in our public schools in the evenings,
Free health care for everyone,
Fair housing for working people,
No more public money going to franchise teams for stadiums,
End non-profit status for profit for NFL teams.
There are many others as well, because you have definitely forgotten you work for the people. You have not done anything for the 99%, and it going to be hard to turn around, I have to be very blunt on this you have been found lacking. We are putting into our turn around program for crappy legislators. If you can't turn it around by the next election, we are just going to vote you out.
Your employers, the voters
PS a bunch of us are headed to DC to deliver this message to you personally at the Peoples March for Public Education and Social Justice on July 8.
Power to the people,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to what this Walking Man listened to on his walk this morning..its Natalie Merchant's "This House Is On Fire"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The few, the happy, those Saint Crispen brothers & sisters

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

In less than two weeks, I will enter into that evil breach of test and punished.
I shall rally, march and stand with the few, the happy, that band of good brothers and sisters who answered the call,
To rise against this tyranny that closes our public schools to open for profit Charter schools,
That reducing our children to data, and
Demoralizing teachers and parents.
I could not imagine standing anywhere else, but with the few, the happy, and the willing,
Arm in arm into that breach,
Should to shoulder,
with my brothers and sisters,
At that sacred sight the Lincoln Memorial in DC,
On the day of truth to power July 8.
For deep in my heart I know:
This day shall be the turning point.
This day shall be breach taken, the day truth rises,
I happily join my fair Saint Crispin's brothers and sisters.
My feet are already marching to battle,
Some day historians will write of those who rallied on 7/8/2016,
Educational historians will write this where victory against tyranny began,
Generations from now teachers will say these few brothers and sisters stood against inequity and injustice for you today.
Tell it on every mountain top the just are marching to DC,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to listen to the tune I am singing today its Sara Bareilles singing "Brave"..
You can be amazing, You can turn a phase into a weapon or a drug....I just wanna see you be BRAVE..
  > <

Friday, June 24, 2016

If you want to know where Walking Man I'll be 7/8

f you want to know where I'll be standing on July 8, 2016?
I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Just at the Lincoln Memorial,
Standing tall with my Just brothers and sisters.
I will be standing with my America's men and women of justice, because Cesar Chavez my labor hero and my courage called me to Manhood long, long ago. He said "I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!"
You don't need to ask me if I'm tired of marching,
You don't have to ask if I'll be too tired to walk,
You don't have to ask if the DC summer heat will stop me,
You don't need to ask if the 8-hour ride will exhaust me,
You don't need to wonder if my feet won't march,
You don't need to ask me if I am too busy to rally,
You don't need if I can't learn from my fellow marchers,
You don't need to ask if my heart is in it,
You only need to know Justice is calling us to be men and women of justice,
Silence and apathy of the masses cannot keep me away.
I am calling out every Just teacher, every Just student, and Just parent within driving distance to stand with the just in DC on July 8, 2016.
There is no need to ask whose side I am on,
You don't have to ask what if no one shows up,
Did you need to ask Rosa Parks what if no one cared,
Did you need to ask if Martin minded being alone in that Birmingham cell?
All you need to know is one man walking in the name of love for public education and social justice matters to his heroes.
All I need to know is my feet will carry me on the wings of justice at the Peoples March for Public education and Social Justice.
The only thing I am wondering is where will you be?
Jesse The Walking Man Jesse Turner

If you are wondering what this walking is listening to right now it's Andra Day version of "Rise Up"

Just some love people

This is what I live for. Seeing the empathy, love and humanity shine on the face of the teachers and children I work with in America or Jamaica.
I love them all.
This is my lottery,
My heaven on earth,
Where Ed Reformers, politicians, and hedge fund manager, and Wall Street see test scores and profits,
I see the child not the score,
I see humanity in teaching and learning.

While they measure proficiency,
While they check their data walls,
While they count:
Campaign contributions,
Private jet junkets,
Eat their expensive paid for lunches,
And sip their expensive paid for wine.

I count smiles,
I celebrate small learning victories,
I see love and respect growing between teachers and children.

I see the child not the score.
Trust me it makes all the difference.
I rather be next to my teachers and children than with Kings and Queens.
These are my people,
This is heaven,
See the child not the score,
Jesse The Walkingman Turner

If you want to hear the tune in my head on my walk this morning it's Bob Marley Hallelujah Time

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rich keep getting's all good on Wall Street

In Isaiah 58:10 it is written "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday." The end of the middle class is when people can't see the bigger picture of an economy that keeps growing more poor people. There can be is no justice with out economic justice. You can fool yourself on this right into the poor house people.

So you tell us Wall Street is flying high,
Billionaires are buying the White House,
Trust them it's all good.
All they need is a few more tax breaks for the wealthy.

More than 30 million children are growing up in poverty.
Nearly 50 million Americans live in poverty. that is 13 million higher than in 2007.
The number one cause for bankruptcy is medical catastrophe.
Money is free speech,
Corporations are people, 
States are doing all they can to suppress voting,
Trust them it's all good for the best government money can buy.
Trust them it's all good on Wall Street!

Cutting public school budgets in all 50 states.
Yeah it's all good for Wall Street and the best government money can buy.
The Kardashians are proof it's all good.
Go to school, play by the golden rule, and leave with a degree and a lifetime of debt.
Trust me it's all good for Big Banks.

Trust me on this: I don't have to wonder what God thinks of the richest nation in the world where it's all good while 50 million of it's people live in poverty.
Momma taught me well:
Deuteronomy 15 "You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. ...I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
Trust me it's not all good in God's eyes!

I am my brother's keeper, and he is my keeper,
Silence and apathy are not acceptable when poverty, injustice and inequity become your nation's greatest gross national products,
So I am going to the Peoples March for Public Education and Social Justice,
I am a Grand Marshal for the Peoples March.
Come join me at the Lincoln Memorial on 7/8?
Trust me God does not bless the silent and the apathetic,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner 

 "They're tearing up streets again to build new hotels and the mayor out killing kids to keep taxes down"  If you want to listen to what this Walking Boy is listening to on his walk today...its "My Favorite Chords" by Waekerthans...>

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I don't want education reform. I want an education revolution.

A good start Steven, Susan and Jim. However it's not the public school revolution Black, Brown, the Poor, and children with disabilities need to over come a public school system that from the beginning was rooted in inequity and injustice for them. It's not education reform we need, but a revolution for justice in our nation's public schools.

Christopher Logue's "Come To The Edge"
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.

Your off to a good start, but equity would still be elusive with your reforms in my opinion. Without real equity children of color and the poor would be left behind. 49 states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools. A good start would end quality by Zip Code public education. But, even that is not enough. We should not confuse equity with equality. Equal funding still leaves us far short.
As Christopher Logue's poem calls us to the edge. Without equity we are not on the edge of all children being able to fly, regardless of their color, their first language, or if they live in poverty. We should call for a radical transformation of our whole public school system. We need a public school revolution. We began reforming our schools in 1892 via uniform exams and standards. We had progressive and traditional education pushes as well. If any of them worked we would have seen it by now.

As your reform platform indicates poverty and resources matter. Poverty is a major factor of course. We agree in poor schools, the children and the teachers who teach in these schools are given less, asked to do more with less, and are threaten with school closures if they don't measure up to the performance of American wealthy schools. This is as unfair as asking a man without legs to run the mile without his wheel chair or prosthetic devices. We most likely agree education reforms from the beginning offered no carrots for poor schools. It has always been new more rigorous tests and standards deeply rooted in blame and punitive measures for not doing more with less.
Equity requires accountability. Black, Brown and Poor parents want equity accountability.

The parents and teachers I work with want equity tangibles as well as an end to useless testing. They want accountability. They want the kind of accountability policy makers and legislators never require. They want an end to a system that tracks Black, Brown, and Poor children into special education, into more explosions, and school arrests.

They do not confused equity with funding equality. Equity requires giving all children the education and resources they need to succeed individually. Equality give the same to all regard of their individual needs. Equity means treating all children fairly. It means holding schools accountable for tracking children of color into that school to prison pipeline.

Poverty is something I know well. As a child my mother and I were homeless for a time. I never went on vacations, always walked or took the bus. I even rode the bus to college. Fighting poverty must not only be an inside school struggle, but must be fought outside our school buildings as well. While every student may be considered equal under the law, individual learning needs vary from child to child. Equity is the attempt to meet every child where they are at, and to provide each with everything they need to succeed in a fair manner.
The parents I work with want policy makers, politicians to collect data, but not testing data. They want them to collect data on equity in our public schools.

They want:
Same small class sizes they see in wealthy schools,
Same ratios of special education, reading teachers, school nurses, art teachers, music teachers, PE teachers they see in wealthy schools,
The same amount of after school sports programs and clubs. If you want to see inequity just count the number of sport teams and after school activities. See the efforts of NYC David Garcia-Rosen fight for equity in NYC in this regard. > <
Parent want the same ratio of certified Liberians to students have they see in wealthy schools.
The same ratio of books, art supplies, musical instruments, and art supplies they see in wealthy schools.
The same beautiful clean furnished classrooms they see in wealthy schools.
Same rich literate environments they see in wealthy schools.
The same quality and fully supplied science labs,
Same access to school trips to museums, parks, and all the other places that take learning outside our school walls.
Equity is not equal school funding it requires we spend more for those in the most need.
Equity is not a school funding formula it is justice.
Your reform proposal in my humble opinion needs to begin with the demand for equity in our schools for all children. It needs to be explicit in it's demands for equity. Without equity no education reform can be reliably evaluated or studied. Without equity all we have is a "School To Prison Pipeline" for Black, Brown and Poor children. Without equity the whole system is unjust.
So I want equity front and center in any proposed education revolution. From the very first day our public schools have been places of inequity, where Black, Brown, and Poor children have been short changed. Children of color are told you need rigor and grit to succeed. It's the child's fault not this American public school system deeply rooted in inequity.
I don't want education reform I want an education revolution.
I know what Education revolutionaries look like:They look like Chicago Teachers occupying city hall,
They look like 12 Dyett Hunger strikers,
They look like those North Carolina teachers arrested for protesting inequity,
They look like Detroit teachers walking out of their schools for safe schools,
They look like Badass teachers fighting for an Equity Conference,
They look like SOSers again calling the just to rally and march at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on July 8, 2016,
They look like anyone who turns up in DC for the Peoples March for Public Education and Social Justice. They will echo Moral Monday CT and Black Lives Matter leader Bishop Selders when he uses his bullhorn to remind us, "their can be no education reform without social justice for every child in and outside our public schools."

Equity calls us to rally with our fellow union brothers and sisters from all across this nation. Equity calls me to march with parents, students, UOO members, SOSers, and education activists on July 8, 2016. Equity is not more education reform it's an over do revolution.
Fight the power,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to what this walking man was listening to on his walk this morning...its Public Enemy "Fight The Power"

Monday, June 20, 2016

Good Samaritans coming...there goes the neigborhood

Bishop Selders on the left, Rev Pawelek in the middle and Dr. Helen Koulidobrova at our 6/9/16 TEDxCCSU Salon Equity Now 
Image from Detroit where the very soul of our humanity and decency is being crushed

My fellow Good Samaritan Sisters in this struggle for equity and justice in our public schools 

The truth that lifts me up everyday 

The longer I find myself engaged in the struggle to bring equity and justice to our public schools the more I find myself returning to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. In Dr. King's last sermon: "The Good Samaritan or I had a sneezed" Dr. King reverses the Good Samaritan parable question the Levite asked when considering if he stopped to help a man in need on the road, What happens to me if I stop to help this man what will happen to me". Martin points out the difference in the way the Samaritan changes the question around "'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

Like the Levite for decades I pass by the many in need, because I could not see the greater good outside my own classroom. I could not see outside my own personal world. My personal journey meant reversing the question to that Samaritan stance began by stepping out my PhD theoretical stances, and it required me to stepping out of the comfortable political stances I had come to occupy as well. It require assuming a moral stance. You are either in for justice all the way or not. 

In 2010 I jumped all in for justice. I began my first walk to Washington DC for justice in our public schools by listening to Martin's last sermon. In 2010 I reverse the question, and stopped being a Levite, and became a Good Samaritan. It is no longer what will happen to the children in my classroom. It became... what will happens to children, teachers and public schools suffering equity and injustice everywhere? 

How does one join those Good Samaritans?
Teaching has always been a struggle for those who teach in poor communities. 49 states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools., (Education Week 2015 Quality Counts Report). Politicians always settle for less, and the courts have always had to intervene for equity.  The system has been weighted against Black, Brown, and Poor Children since the very first public schools opened. I turned 61 on June 11. I have been teaching, learning, and growing for decades. For most of my teaching career I fought my battles solely at the classroom level, through my professional organizations, and at the state policy making level. In many ways I was as Dr. King would say a Levite. I stood secure at the my students, my classroom, and my school level. However outside my school doors I passed over the many suffering inequity and injustice in our public schools. I talked about my class, my work, and my scholarship. I avoided deep discussions beyond what "I" did level. 

The only place I made a genuine different was in my classroom. Professional organizations, policy makers, and legislators rather chase elusive data points rather than draw a line in the sand on equity. You really can't measure any education reform without having a level playing field. You will always end up comparing schools with more against those with less. I knew this from the day I enter my first classroom. How does a teacher committed to justice and equity in our public schools become a Samaritan? You step outside your "I" box. You see the bigger picture. You must risk it all. With justice you can't be half in. You can't say to young children justice for you is coming some day. Be patient if it misses you maybe justice will catch your children.  

How does one teach in a system of inequity without being another chain link of injustice? How does a social justice minded teacher teach in a unjust system? You step outside the Levite box? You begin see the larger picture. You come to understand you need to fight two battles at the same time. You not only have to fight for the children in your classroom, but for those in every classroom. Fighting the battle outside takes you outside your teacher safe/comfort zones. 

My comfort zone is I am a Star Fish Teacher. The Star Fish story talks about a young boy walking on the beach after a storm where thousands of Star Fish are washed up on the beach. An old man finds a boy throwing Star Fish back into the ocean to save them. The old man tells the boy you are wasting your time. You can't save them all. The boy picks up another to throw back, and tells the old man it's make a difference to this one.
I have always been a Star Fish teacher, and when I made the shift from teaching at the public school level to the university. I became a Star Fish Teacher recruiter. I have always fought the good fight, and always save one child at a time, and tried to change an inequitable and unjust system from within. On Sundays at service I always asked for forgiveness for not being able to do more. I have never felt one Star Fish at a time is a ticket into heaven.

Over the years, I learned to live with the disappointments of legislators, policy makers and courts determined not to right inequity, but to sustain an unjust public education system. Politician talk equity, but write legislation rooted in inequity. Policy makers talk equity, but write ways around it. Courts rule on it, but always compromise on it. A system so deeply rooted in Black, Brown, and Poor children attending schools that decades ago Jonathan Kozol Labeled our schools places of "Savage Inequalities".
It hard to fight on two fronts. One fight always gets more than the other. The classroom side is the place I always gave more to the fight. I am a Star Fish Teacher after all. I learned to make every second in the classroom pay off. I became comfortable fighting there. It was my Levite safe zone. These days it has become too hard to teach in a climate where bureaucrats have turned teaching and learning into a numbers game without empathy and humanity. Politicians and policy makers are bent on privatizing our public schools. It pays off nicely in campaign contributions for them.   

I came to accept the world outside my four walls was inequitable and unjust, but inside my classroom walls justice ruled. It was enough until No Child Left Behind came along, and turned children into test scores, and schools and teachers into the enemy. 

Then came "Race To The Top" not only did poor schools have to deal with inequity, but now had to compete with each other for limited resources. Race To The Top turned choice into a lottery of losers and winners, and blamed Black, Brown, and Poor children for not having enough grit to deal with inequity and injustice.
From 2002 to 2008 I watched the data point to their every single NCLB Ed Reform fail. In 2008 I hoped for change, and by 2010 Secretary Duncan gave us the double down on testing, grit, rigor, and I watched my Star Fish teachers begin to fall one by one. We Levite teachers were no longer safe on the road. The system standardized stranding children, teachers, and local schools on the beach far from the oceans they needed to strive. Public Education became even more deeply rooted in inequity and injustice. Equity will never happen through forcing poor schools to compete against each other for grants, resources, and funding.
In 2010 I decided fighting on the classroom level was not enough. I needed to step up the fight outside the classroom. I decided the struggle outside my classroom would be to help inform, educate, and move the public to action. I would use my body as well as my words. So I began walking to Washington DC in 2010. On my 40-day journey I met parents, teachers, and students who felt victimized by a public school system that demoralized and dehumanized them.  
I marched with SOS in 2011, because it informed, educated and move teachers, parents and students to action.
I started going to the Education Summit at the Selma Jubilee in Alabama, because public education is Civil Rights. In Selma people understand poverty, public education, voting rights, inequity, and injustice are all part of Racism. In Selma people know how to fight injustice. It's in their blood, and I needed to learn from that blood. In Selma people throw their bodies into the struggle.
In Selma I would become part of Moral Mondays. I would learn you can't fight the battle outside the classroom without putting my body in the streets.
Along the way I joined SOS, BATs, and UOO, and any other group willing to put their bodies into the struggle.
In 2015 I threw my body into walking again. I joined Moral Monday CT and Black Lives Matter as well. I began fighting on two fronts on harder. I save my Star Fish one at a time at the classroom level, and fought to save them all on the streets. 

I have found a brotherhood and sisterhood of people ready to take this struggle for justice and equity into the streets. I came to understand this battle better from reading Connecticut Moral Monday activist and friend Unitarian Universal Rev Josh Pawelek sermon about his Moral Mondays and Black Lives activist stance.
Social justice movements need our bodies as much—or more—than they need our words. As one who’s invested much in the talk of social justice, it was hard for me to transition to body-based struggle. I’ve named that from this pulpit a number of times. I’ve always been affirmed for using words. Would embodied struggle receive the same affirmation? But what a difference it has made for me to say nothing with my mouth and everything with my body, to stand in a street blocking traffic because Black Lives Matter, to spend an evening in jail. And how much more powerful the words that finally do come when the mind speaks what the body knows."
I have learned that this struggle is bigger than being a Star Fisher saver, it's needs bodies marching, blocking streets, and occupying those legislative bodies that sustain this inequitable and injustice public school system. As I arrived after 40 days of walking to the BAT March On Washington in Washington DC last July our legislators and President Obama signed into law Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA). A bait and switch piece of legislation that maintains high stakes testing, rigor, grit, and continues to force poor schools to compete against each other in an inequitable and unjust system. The bait and switch we are maintaining testing and competition is equity, but taking away Federal control, and putting it all in the hands of those 49 governors spending more on their wealthy schools than their poor ones. In other words, the foxes are now in control of the hen houses.

I am still a Star Fish Teacher, but I am using my body in the struggle for equity and justice not only in our schools, but everywhere. Now I am walking for justice and equity in our schools and outside them as well. Some people call my actions naive and radical. But, like Bernie Sanders I see nothing naive or radical about using my words and my body to stand up for equity and justice. My teaching methods and theory cannot win this battle. They can help me save some, but not all. I want to save all not some. As Rev Pawelek said "How much more powerful the words that finally do come when the mind speaks what the body knows" I save Star Fish one at a time in my classroom, my minds speaks truth to power, my feet and my body fight the battle outside my classroom door. Outside the classroom door my "Mind Speaks what the body knows"
I am calling every student, parent, teacher, and activist to come let your minds speak what your bodies know. Equity and justice is calling every American to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on July 8. Justice requires not only our words, but our bodies. See the greater good, see not just those in front of you, but see all our children in our public schools. On Sundays at service I still ask God for forgiveness, and to help me do more. I am still far-far from that ticket to heaven. Although my words and my body are now in the struggle for equity and justice for all children. 
Calling all Good Samaritans everywhere, come join our march for public education and social justice, come speak your mind, and put you body into the struggle,
Jesse The Walking Turner

Good Samaritans coming DC there goes the neighborhood. If you are wondering what song this walking for justice man is listening to on his walk today...Its "There goes the neighborhood" by Bhi Bhiman.