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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Where has all the money gone, long time passing

Where has all the money gone, long time passing,
Gone to profits everywhere, long time passing,
When will we ever learn,
When will we ever learn.

Accountability matters, and so does the stealth robbery of funding for our public schools.
In the late 1990's Former Secretary of Education William Bennett saw a potential 250-billion-dollar assessment market.
NCLB and Race To The Top more than doubled on that prediction.
Public school students use to be test three time in the past. Once in Elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school. This is still the way it is still done by most nations. Especially the nation's out scoring America on international assessments.
Let me play with the math a little. We have about 53 million children in our public schools. It takes some 13 years to complete a child's public education. In 2015 NCLB and RTTT first 53 million children completed their public-school journey.

In my day those children would have taken national/state exams three times costing about 300 dollars per child. Now when we calculate it out for 53 million students it come to somewhere around:
300 U.S. dollars per child over 13 years. Time that by 53 million = 15.9 billion U.S. dollars A massive amount of money. Testing in our public schools has always been a lucrative business.
Now people stay with me people? Under NCLB and Race To The Top testing when from 3 standardized tests to some 112 standardized tests per child. No one in the Department of Education wants to put a number on the cost of those 112 Standardized tests that children take during their 13 years in our public schools. But, heck let me take a shot at it for them? Let us say buying these tests and paying for the scoring equal somewhere around a 100.00 a pop.

So that comes 11, 200 U.S. dollars for every child during their public-school experience. Sure, sounds like a great deal of money. In most districts that equals what many schools spend to educate a child. Now we don't want to stop people. We have to take that 11,200 dollars, and times it by 53 million to fully see the cost of testing in our public schools. That comes 593.6 billion U.S. dollars for every generation of children that pass through our public schools. That is over 45 billion dollars for every year during a child's public school experience.

Where have all the art teachers gone,
Where have all the music teachers gone,
Where have all the Special Education teachers gone,
Where have all the Reading Specialists gone,
Where have all the school councilors gone,
Where have all the school social workers gone,
Where have all school nurses gone,
Where have all Gym teachers gone,
Where have 540 learning days gone,
Where have all teachers gone,

Gone to 112 Standardized tests everywhere, long time passing,
Where has all the money gone, Gone to profits everywhere, long time passing,
Where have all our school house smiles gone, long time passing,
Gone to tears everywhere, long time passing,
When will we ever learn,
When will we ever learn.

Parents, students, and teacher must Fight For Six, before ESSA robs another generation of hundreds of billions of dollars on useless testing.
Fight this insanity,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to listen to what tune inspired this walking man on his walk this morning in the rain...its Pete Seeger singing “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”

Monday, May 22, 2017

I stand with the Chicago Six Teachers

When Public Education punishes teachers for standing up for the children they teach? Then that system is corrupt.

When teachers are punished for being the "Mediums of Action for children, parents, and our local schools the system is broken.
John Dewey said: “It is advisable that the teacher should understand, and even be able to criticize, the general principles upon which the whole educational system is formed and administered. He is not like a private soldier in an army, expected merely to obey, or like a cog in a wheel, expected merely to respond to and transmit external energy; he must be an intelligent medium of action."

When we punish a teacher like Chicago teacher Sarah Chambers for advocating for the students she teaches, for the community she teaches in, and for her fellow teachers? The message is clear! Our children do not matter, Our parents do not matter, And public education becomes a system of abuse. Sarah is not alone in being punished in Chicago. There are 5 other teachers currently suspended for being vocal advocates for their schools and students. Let me say their names: Kevin Triplett, Joseph Dunlap, Laura Sierra, Jessie Hudson, Jose Contreras. Below is a link to video statements from these CTU hero teachers. Please click it, and also understand this is going on all over our nation.

Chicago is trying to shut down any opposition from teachers who risk being Dewey’s “Medium of Action.” They are teachers brave enough to criticize a corrupt public school system. They are being punished for rejecting silence and compliance with inequity and injustice in Chicago’s public schools.
We can support them. Here are the two simple things they like us to do:
Call Claypool at (773) 553-1500 and the Board of Ed at (773) 553-1600 and demand that they stop targeting teachers for standing up for their students.
Defend and support the CTU Six and other teacher advocates by promoting the #CTU6 hashtag and #CTU6 content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I salute the Chicago Six, for their courage and commitment to the children they teach, to the communities they teach in, and for being our “Mediums of Action.” This isn’t about unionism this is about teachers being punished for advocating for the children they teach, and the public schools they teach in. When we remain silent and apathetic to systems of abuse we become tools of oppression.
I stand with the Chicago Six,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to know what this Walking Man listened to on his walk this morning...its..Rebel Diaz song “Chicago Teacher”
I'm walking with Rebel Diaz's words inspiring my every step. Thinking and standing with my Chicago brothers and sisters in their struggle against that CPS System of Abuse! 

"Homey I was taught by a Chicago teacher!
Chicago teacher, Chicago teacher!
I learned to read and write from a Chicago teacher,
So I’m inspired by the fight from our Chicago teachers!" 

"The teachers are tired, the students dumbfounded,
the budgets get cut so classes are overcrowded.
Streets full of violence, the blue code of silence
so imma keep rhyming til salaries start rising!
The unions uprising! takin to the streets!
The workers are United so the Mayor's got beef!
Rahm's a fake pretender with a corporate agenda"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How many tears must fall, before it's equal justice for all

A Bridgeport teacher speaks up after another unarmed teenager of color is shot dead. Please read the link below?

No parent of a 15-year-old should hear the words your son was shot today by the police although he was unarmed. He laid bleeding to death alone, hand cupped, and without any medical attention. With not one single person holding his hand as he died. This should not be the norm for anyone's son. Justice should never be we were scare, and decided to shoot first ask questions later.

We know this can stop, we know it can be done differently. In New York City last week, a drunk driver killed an innocent 18-year-old girl, injured 28 others, and jumped out of his car and started attacking people physically. He was arrested not shot.

If we say we should teach young people respect in our schools and in the home, then that lesson should not be, to Black sons you are black and you'll be treated differently by the police. As long as this is the lesson Black parents have to teach, then justice is not equal in America. Respect should begin with regardless of your color, your immigration status respect is equal treatment by the police.

As a former high school teacher, I have felt the pain of losing students to violence. It rips your heart out. That empty desk every day is a reminder of what should never be. We all understand that for their families this will never go away.

Any school curriculum that does not address this norm of injustice in our society every day is a curriculum without meaning. If curriculum that does not address the fact that young boys and girls of color are arrested, convicted, treated brutally, and shot by our police in vastly higher numbers is meaningless. Any curriculum that chases test scores, and not justice is meaningless to the youth of our nation. A curriculum void of justice is no curriculum, but what Marcus Garvey called mental slavery.

Respect should begin with every person regardless of their color, every one should be treated the same under the law. Anything less is disrespect to fairness and justice. This is not only a Bridgeport problem, this is a nation crisis.

All Prayers to Jayson Negron's family, to all Bridgeport families, and for every Bridgeport teacher.
Dr. Jesse Patrick Turner

Dear Lord, hear my prayer that someday we won't have to march for justice for all. If you like to hear what this Walking Man is listening to on his walks these its...Rhiannon Giddens "Better Get It Right The First Time"

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I Am Going to Walk For Labor And Justice

So much is wrong in our nation today. The Bully in the White House is dragging us down a little more with each insidious tweet. If you sit home watching it on the news, and you are not marching than you my friend are not part of the solution, but part of the problem.
People are fighting back all over America. I have decided I need to do another walk again. This time I am not walking to DC, but to Hartford LOB. Rev William J. Barber, II said we need to take this fight for justice to our state capitols.
So my Connecticut friends, I am walking 12 miles on Labor Day from Central Connecticut State University, (the first teacher's college in CT) to the Hartford LOB.
I am calling it a Labor and Justice walk. The walk should take me 3 to 4 hours to complete. I am hoping others will join me, or meet me in Hartford. Every Saturday until Labor anyone who wants to prepare for the walk can join me on a walk and talk at the West Hartford reservoir. We will start with walking an hour nice and easy on Saturdays, and work our way up to 12 miles. If you want to join me on my Saturday Walks in preparation just send me a message to
If I find myself walking alone, so be it. I have walked alone before, but if one other joins me. If one other joins me than we will be two, and two join us we will be 4, and if 4 join us than we are 8, and just maybe we'll reach 300. 300 Spartans rallied a nation, and save Greece. Connecticut, I am looking for 300 Labor and Justice walkers. What if the nation walked for Labor and Justice on Labor Day? Something tells me that would be the beginning of the revolution America needs most today.
I am walking for Labor and Justice, Jesse The Walking Man Turner
If you want to listen to the song that inspired my blog today....its a cover of my mother favorite Gospel singer Mahaila Jackson song I gonna live the life I sing about in my song by The Last Internationale

Sunday, May 7, 2017


A Walking Man SOS: FIGHT For 6

As George Clinton would say it's time to get your funk on.   The Walking Man is ready to tear the roof off High Stakes Testing. I am launching my Fight For 6 Campaign, this Monday May 8th, at 10:00am on the Tom Ficklin Radio Show WNHH-LP 103.5 FM. 

The plan is to explain how we went from 6 days of standardized testing to 540 of standardized testing. Everyone understands this one simple concept, testing days are lost learning days.  When I attended public school there was standardized testing.  We had it once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once again, in high school.  Back in the day, teachers would never think of practicing or preparing for those assessments.   Teachers were told that practicing would invalidate the results. Those of us 40 years of age and older, lost about 6 days of learning over our entire public school experience to high stakes testing.  Today's children spend about 540 days on preparing, practicing, and taking these assessments. That equals 3 years of 'lost learning' by the time our children graduate. We hear a great deal about data and accountability these days from politicians, Education Reformers, and CEOs. Do they really care about accountability?   The actual trend for our high school reading/math test scores have declined, or at the very least remained stagnant for the past 30 years. This decline came with massive expenditure over the past 15 years for more rigorous standards and testing. If these politicians cared about accountability, wouldn't they try something new?

Horace Mann, often referred to as the father of America's public education, addressed the vast inequalities between the 6000 public schools he visited during his time as the Massachusetts Secretary of Education in 1848. No other Secretary of Education anywhere or in any era has ever visited all the public schools under their guidance. His report to the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1848 "Now, surely, nothing but Universal Education can counter-work this tendency to the domination of capital and the servility of labor. If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former." (H. Mann, Report Number 12, 1848).

What would Horace Mann have to say 169 years later about those vast inequalities?  In 2015, Education Week Quality Counts report found 49 states spending more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools.  Connecticut is one of those 49 states.
What has America done to make equity real in our public schools?   We have created a public school funding system based on property taxes. A system that assures the quality of education is determined by a person's zip code.
And returning once again to Mann's words : " If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former."  Marcus Garvey would call it a system of Mental Slavery. The name of the chains on America's Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children is INEQUITY. 
In 1892 the NEA Committee of 10, instead of working on equity and justice for all in our nation's public schools, began experimenting with common curricula, universal assessments and more rigorous standards. To them the solution was not ending inequity, but promoting new subject curriculum taught in English, testing and more rigorous standards. Does this sound familiar today? The only difference between those reforms of 1892,  and the ones of today is, 125 years later we went from one high school exit exam to 540 days of high stakes assessments.

Diane Ravitch writes: “Anyone who truly cares about children must be repelled by the insistence on ranking them, rating them, and labeling them. Whatever the tests measure is not the sum and substance of any child. The tests do not measure character, spirit, heart, soul, potential. When overused and misused, when attached to high stakes, the tests stifle the very creativity and ingenuity that our society needs most. Creativity and ingenuity stubbornly resist standardization." 2013, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools

How did this loss of learning time happen? 

Education Reformers, CEOs, and our Political Leaders sold a lie to the American public; More testing and rigorous standards will bring equity to public schools.  The very people furthest removed from children, classrooms and teachers, sold parents the lie; It's testing, not equity that our public schools need. The people Dr. Ravitch describes as not caring for children; the people who are demanding we rank, rate, and label every child in America as proficient or not. The people who most likely do not send their own children to public schools.  Often, the very people who are profiting from testing, or raking in massive campaign contributions.  Those who claim equity will come through false school choices without equity.   The ones who claim more testing and standards will save Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children. These people  have not studied America's public school system. They have no clue what equity and justice should look like in our public schools. The truth, American public schools have never known a single day of equity and justice for Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children.  I would argue that these education reforms have increased those vast inequalities that Horace Mann noted 169 years ago.
Our leaders must begin to really care about equity and justice for Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children in our public schools.  They need to address the constant elephant in our classrooms "Inequity" over the last 169 years.
I want Equity and Justice Now, not more testing. The only standard needed in our public schools is Equity Now!
Fight For 6,
Jesse The Walking Turner

If you like to hear the song that inspires my walk over the Avon Mountain today....its Parliament Mother Ship's TEAR The Roff Off