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Friday, September 29, 2017

I am-I know why I march

I know who I am,
I know what I want,
Ain't no one gonna turn me around.

49 states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools,
I know why I march,
I know why I talk up,
I know why I turn up.

Forcing America's poorest schools to compete against each other for limited resources is not equity.
I know injustice when I see it,
I know children deserve better,
I know parents deserve better,
I know teachers deserve better,
I know America deserves better.

I know why I march,
Silence is a war against our children,
Apathy is a war against justice,
I know what that-Public School's Promise Land looks like,
And I won't stop until I feel it beneath my feet.
It doesn't matter how tired these feet become,
My heart is set on that promise land,
And I ain't stopping until I get there.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to listen to the song that inspired my walk this morning it's the Freedom Singers cover of "Ain't No One Turn Me Round"

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's always been hard times for Black, Brown and Poor Kids

In the Charles Dickens novel “Hard Times” (1854), we find School Master cold-hearted Mr. Gradgrind giving his newly hired teacher Mr. McChoakumchild this advice: “Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” It’s an old story of course, much older than 1854, and as current as ever. The setting Dickens creates is Coketown, an urban city, dominated by dark factories, the oppressed black smoke of never ending burning coal fires, and ruled by wealthy men driven by greed and profits. In other words, not much different then dozens and dozens of American cities of today.

Secretary of Education DeVos’s children, have never attended any Zero Tolerance schools, Common Core schools, or testing factory schools. Their classrooms, always had all the bells and whistles. Jean Anyon, wrote about the different in public school education experiences between poor and wealthy students (Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education 162, 67-92.) No one is surprise that schools in wealthy communities are better than those in poor communities, or that it’s poor schools feeding our prison population. The children of the wealthy are taught to speak up, ask the big questions, and told to follow their personal inquiries. Be creative, innovative, given plenty of time, plenty of support, learning project based classrooms surrounded by music and the arts. Their classroom sizes are small, and tutors are plentiful. Genius is not test driven, but performance driven. If behavior becomes an issue, you call in an army of counselors, social workers, psychologists, or these days life coaches.

Poor children are told to sit still, stay quiet, only speak when they are spoken to, walk in straight lines, and pack like sardines in classrooms. Music and the arts, well who needs that when all that is expected “
You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts”. If behavior becomes an issue you call the police.

What is surprising is that America keeps chasing the myths of mis-education policies of more rigorous standards and high-stakes testing. We have been on this bandwagon since 1892. If standards and testing worked? Wouldn’t we have seen it by now? We continue to double down on the two very policies that exacerbate inequities between our wealthy and our poor schools. My thinking is change must begin with equity at the very least.

I have even heard some experts state Black, Brown and Poor children learn differently. They need more structure and discipline. Well, I am not buying that. This is what they have had from day one of American public education. Black, Brown, and Poor children are taught differently in a public-school system deeply rooted in inequity and injustice. Michelle Alexander takes us where Charles Dickens could not go in 1854. In her book The New Jim Crow” she details a School-to-Prison Pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline is a national trend that involves taking Black, Brown and Poor students out of public schools and pushing them into courtrooms, juvenile detention centers and prisons. Rich children get Utopian schools, poor children get prepped for low wage jobs and prisons, and our policy makers and legislators wash their hands in new standards and more rigorous tests.

It always been hard times for poor boys and girls, but these days it even darker, and the last thing the Wealthy, the Powerful, and the Connected want is poor boys and girls in their schools. Black, Brown, and Poor Children don’t learn differently, but their schools are often dens of inequity.
What do we want?

When to we want it?
170 years of inequity, and counting,
Jesse The Walking Man

Turner If you like to listen to the tune I listened to on my walk over the Avon mountain today. It’s Lauren Hill “The mystery of iniquity’

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I reject your standards without humanity

I am an academic, an education scholar, a teacher of teachers. I have deeply studied the literature, and I have found the current education reforms to be extremely harmful to children, their teachers, and our public schools. They have no data to support the wasted billions on the most massive education reforms of NCLB, RTTT, and ESSA of the past 15 years. I have testified, written, and marched against this massive destruction of childhood. I am perplexed by this insanity that is push by the powerful, the wealthy, and the connected. This idea that the only purpose of public schools is to make children college ready, and to leave childhood behind as early as kindergarten.

It is written in Matthew 18:3 "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

What would Christ say to standardized education standards void of:
And a world where leaders measure childhood not in love, but in test scores?

Children are the same all over the world, they come in all colors, all faiths, and sizes. They are unique in every way, no two are alike, and they are wonders.
If you study them, work with them, and see the world through their eyes?
Everything is beautiful.
I am blessed with eyes that refuse to grow up,
I still like to roll around on the floor,
I still crazy dance,
I still sing out of tune without caring,
I still color outside the lines,
And I pray Lord, our policy makers and political leaders learn to let children be children again.
I am weary of standards that turn children into college ready little adults.
Little college ready adults void of wonder, imagination, and innocence.

Whisper it, in the shadows,
Shout it, out every window,
Call, Wall street,
Call every governor,
Call every mayors,
Call the White House,
Tell the Think Tanks,
Tell it, to every political leader in the land,
Share it, on every village green,
Ring every bell, in the land,
Tell it on every mountaintop,
Ye, you the powerful, the wealthy, and the connected,
We reject your standards without humanity,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to the tune that this walking man listened to on his morning's "Teach Your Children" cover by Play For Change

Monday, September 18, 2017

I am the Small Axe

I have been fighting for children, parents, teachers, and our public schools for decades. Inequity and injustice is occupying our public school system. What choice do I have, but to fight it? 
Occasionally a colleague will ask do you ever get tired?
My reply is some people think victory is one big thing, one rally, one march, one explosive moment of truth smashing down. That's not the way I see victory. 
I see victory like Bob Marley's song "Small AXE"
"Why boasteth thyself
Oh, evil men
Playing smart
And not being clever? Oh no
I said, you're working iniquity
To achieve vanity, yeah (if a-so a-so)
But the goodness of Jah, Jah
I-dureth forever
If you are the big tree
We are the small axe
Sharpened to cut you down (well sharp)
Ready to cut you down"
Victory is not one mighty swift cut,
Victory is a thousand sharp cuts come to take you down. 
So tired no, 
Disappointed no,
Sad no,
I am the patient lion on your trail,
I am the happy warrior who understands victory is coming,
For, I am the small axe come to cut injustice down,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

" If you are the big tree
We are the small axe
Sharpened to cut you down
Ready to cut you down"

I bet you already know what tune this Walking Man listened to no his walk today...Bob Marley's "Small Axe"

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Governor, once Again, we come to demand a moral budget

It's all tied together, a healthy economy depends on healthy families, healthy children, healthy adults, healthy public schools, and communities. It's tie to whether your state decides to invest in the future, or sell it out. 
In Connective we have three competing budgets that will do great harm to our poor, our schools, and our disabled citizens. However here in America's richest state, two groups will not be harmed, will not be asked to contribute their fair share. Connecticut's Wealthy and it's richest corporations will not be asked to give one more penny. Once again it's working people, the poor, and the disabled that shall balance the budget. We have come to the People's House to demand a Moral Budget.  Today September 14, 2017.... it's time to return to the People's House.

Connecticut Legislators are at it again today in Hartford ,
Trying to bum rush another let the wealthy off, punish the poor and working people budget.
I could stay home this morning,
I could grab that second cup of coffee,
I could hide behind that, one less would not make a difference this day,
I could say I am not my brother's keeper,
I could sleep another 20 minutes,
I could be silent in a world of silence,
But, Bishop Selders is calling,
Rev Josh Pawelek is calling,
Pastor Bennett is calling,
Rev Jan is calling,
Moral Mondays CT is calling,
Due Justice is calling,

Conscience is calling,
I could eat another croissant,
Toast another slice of denial.
But, I keep hearing Theodore Parker voice saying:
"“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
I could let others turn up for justice,
I could trust others to ensure that arc of the moral universe bends towards justice at the state capital today,
But Bishop Selders is calling,
Moral Mondays is calling,
I know that moral arc will not bend towards justice,
In a world where the just are silence.
Like Saint George of old, who fought that good fight everyday, I may fall,
But each day I shall rise up again to bend that moral compass towards justice,
Today I will join CT Clergy at the Capital, calling upon this governor and our legislators demanding a Moral Budget.
No, I shall not stay home, when justice calls me,
I maybe just one man.
But I am one man who hears justice calling him today.
See you at the capital,Jesse The Walking Man Turner

Finally some Democratic legislators came out, and listened to our plea for a Moral Budget.
I am not certain is the bum rush immoral budget will pass tonight, but if it does you find me right back at the People's House come Friday morning.

If you like to hear the tune I listened to on my morning walk's"For What It's Worth-Buffalo Springfield (Bluegrass Cover by Del McCoury Band and Friends)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I see a Truth to Power day coming, and we'll sing Hallelujah

Someday history will tell the evil truth of policy makers, legislators, and CEOs who came to destroyed public education.
On that same day, history will tell the stories of resisters who spoke up, stood up, and saved our schools.

Children will ask:

Were you there in 2011 with SOS,
Did you write one of those Teacher letters to Obama,
Were you at the 2 DOE occupies in DC with UOO,
Were you with Long Island Opt Out,
Were you an Opt Out parent,
Were you a Badass Teacher,
Were you with United Opt Out,
Were you with Parents Across America,
Were you with Network for Public Education,
Were you with Chicago Teachers Unions,
Were you one of the Dyett hunger strikers,
Were you there with SOS, BATs, UOO, J4Jusitce, Rev Barber, and Bishop Selders at the Lincoln Memorial in 2016?

Were you with Children Are More Than Test Scores?

Young teachers will ask:

Did you stand with Journey 4 Jusitce,
Did you listen to the War Report?
Did you stand with PCAPS,
Did you stand with Moral Mondays,
Did you stand with the Dreamers?

Or were you:
One of the complacent ones,
One of the silent ones,
One of those apathetic ones that let it all happen?

Someday, they will tell the story of those who saved our public schools.
On that day I plan to stand tall,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

There are many, many groups fighting back, please add your names to our resistant groups? I am inspired by the thought that there are too many groups to list.
When that Truth to Power day comes?
I plan to be singing Hallelujah with my buddy Barry Lane, just like on that 2011 day in DC

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dear President Trump you can't make America great without ending inequity and injustice

Dear America,
Inequity has been the constant in America's public schools for over 170 years. Schools in Black, Brown, Immigrant, and Poor communities have never known equity. A public school system without equity is a public school system rooted in injustice. Children spend 13% of their lives in their public schools. If inequity only existed in the school house walls, perhaps the vast majority could rise above it?
But, they live 87% of their lives in communities where that very same inequity occupies their lives.

We can't turn around our schools without turning around our communities. We can't have racial justice in our nation, without economic justice.
Truth to power Walking Man Moment: We need policies and legislation that address inequity and injustice in our schools and our communities. Anything less is a crime against our own humanity.

Finally, President Trump, you cannot make an America without equity and justice for all great.
Poverty matters,
Racism matters,
Equity in our schools and our nation matters.
An America without equity is a failing nation.
Maya Angelou told us: "I'm convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they're stones that don't matter. As long as you're breathing, it's never too late to do some good."

The time for doing some good is at hand America

My sisters Ruth and Ceresta have lit those candles in the dark years ago. All we need do is light our own candles for justice and equity. We are closer to change than ever before. Brother and sisters come light the way.

I don't have all the answers, but I do know change begins with the people. It begins with us, it begins one person at a time, the key to change has always been you, and it is never too late to light those candles for justice.
We are the heroes, America has been waiting for,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire my walk over that Avon Mountain this's "For what it's worth"-Buffalo Springfield cover by Del McCoury Band and friends. > <

Friday, September 1, 2017

Those Lazy Teachers!

Teachers some people say they'll lazy!
Well, it's a new academic year, and I have met my new graduate students. All hard-working teachers. Research indicates teachers work 57 hours per week. 37 are paid hours a week, 27 on instruction, and 10 on required school duties. The other 20 are without pay.Summers are without pay. Every teacher I know looks for summer work.
My teachers spend another 3-9 hours a week on top of that earning graduate credits in literacy. Twice that amount of time completing assignment for us. It will cost them between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars. No one is paying for them. This is all on their own dollar.
They will write numerous research papers, critically read the research, deeply expand their thinking professionally, take exams, create numerous projects, and tutor and feed 4 children for free, and write extensive case studies on each one. Then after all that the state of Connecticut requires them to take a standardized exam that they pay for to become certified. This is after they have already taken and passed at least 2-3 other standardized license exams. These exams will add 1000-1500 out of their own pockets. It is coming to the point where fewer and fewer students want to be teachers. The word is out, teaching is extremely hard, and is one of the least respected professions in America these days.    

Teachers some people say they'll lazy!

My simple Walking Man truth,
Teachers are my heroes
I say they are our First Responders of Humanity and Dignity for children in our public schools.
I say they are over worked and bullied by oppressive education policies that are doing everything possible to kill the motivation to learn in our children.
They, are doing the best they can against legislative mandates, and privatizing forces reducing our childhood into data points and profits.
Over a hundred years of research indicates teachers make the difference, not standards or test scores.
Praise and respect to America's teachers.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to hear the tune that inspired my morning walk this's Lulu's "To Sir With Love"