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Sunday, March 24, 2019

I am a man of action

There is so much wrong in this life, pain, suffering, inequity, and injustice at every corner. The cornerstone of all that is wrong is less what evil people do, and more about our indifference to the suffering and pain of others.

“Elie Wiesel said: The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

Dear Teachers, can we love the students we teach, and be silent about racism, homophobia, sexism, White Nationalism, religious bigotry, and xenophobia?

I would argue no, and such kinds of indifferences promote White Supremacy. I am calling indifference out in our public schools, our communities, our neighborhoods, our union halls, our churches, synagogues, temples, and Mosques. This is not the time to silent, this is the time to stand up together, to stand up for one another, change is not indifferent, it is purposeful, bold, and daring.

So, I found myself on my morning walk over the Avon Mountain asking myself...what can one man do? I reflected on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the legacy of social action he left behind for all of us. I looked back on my the past decade of my activism in this fight for equity and justice for all in our public schools, and my recent role as Moral monday Connecticut's Education Ambassador. This role brings great responsibility, and requires bold actions.

Once, I said I would walk 400 miles to DC to protest the harmful effects of high-stakes testing.
So, I walked in 2010.
Once, I said I would walk 400 miles again to DC to protest the harmful effects of NCLB, RTTT, and ESSA.
So, I walked in 2015.
Now, I am saying it is not enough to walk again. I am going to use my body to make a statement against these evil policies of choice without equity.
I am going to lay my body down in the old ways of those civil rights activist of old. I shall walk into that United States Department of Education Building in DC, and sit down. I shall not be moved.
The question is will I be the only sit in at Betsy DeVos's house of inequity and shame?
My word is my bond.

I am guided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr tenets of Non-Violent Social change. Martin left us a legacy to guide our steps for social and interpersonal change.

"INFORMATION GATHERING:To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position.

EDUCATION: It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.

PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.

DISCUSSION/NEGOTIATION: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.

DIRECT ACTION: These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.

RECONCILIATION: Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community."

If I am alone, then I am alone in this action. What matters is one person somewhere stands up somewhere against this evil that reduces Black, Brown, Poor and Special Education children to profit margins and data points.
Get ready for I am returning to DC in 2019 to occupy the United States Department of Education,
Dr. Jesse The Walking Man Turner
Jesse Turner is a walking Man

If you want to hear what song inspired my walk over the mountain this spring's Barry Lane singing Jesse Turner is a Walking Man

Thursday, March 7, 2019

See the child, not the score

We hear a great deal about what it means to assess children in schools these days. Policy makers and Ed Reformers love to talk rigorous standards and testing. 
But, I say if we look at the original Latin root assess is assessus "a sitting by," past participle of assidere/adsidere "to sit beside." Nowhere does it say test, nowhere does it say be more rigorous, insist on one size fits all, hold them to tougher standards. Nowhere does it say be objective, cold, and void of any empathy.
It says to "sit beside", it's the sitting with, that gives teachers the data that really matters, helps the child understand this isn't something teachers do to them, but with them.
Both teacher and child learn from each other...  In the real world, the most important data is sitting right next to you. See the child, not the score. Remember hope is born on the wings of our empathy.
These Ed Reformers and policy makers are the ones who never sit beside children, and I say they don't have a clue about teaching and learning.
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Moral Monday Connecticut Ambassador

See the child not the score, give hope, and watch them grow. 

If you want to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk is More Than a Number by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Barry Lane > <

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Teaching is not rooted in Rigor, it's comes from the heart.

There something immensely evil in these education reforms demanding rigor, zero tolerance policies, endless testing, mad data driven instruction. These efforts to evaluate every minute of our teaching day, and the reduce children to strategic learning objectives.

Great Teachers, see the single rose.

French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book 'The Little Prince' opened my heart to understanding where great pedagogy's not in the data, not in the methodology, it's not in the studies, it's not in the it begins in the heart, and a teacher without heart is no teacher at all.
Of all the misguided efforts to reform public education, the worst is the effort to close the teacher's heart. The effort to turn teaching in to something scientific, objective, data driven, and heartless.
“People where you live, the little prince said, grow five thousand roses in one garden... Yet they don't find what they're looking for... And yet what they're looking for could be found in a single rose.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There is not a day that goes by where I do not find all I need from one single rose.
Great teachers don't see rows of children.
They see one child at a time.
Great teachers don't see test scores.
They see children.
Great lessons begin not in moving data points.
Great lessons begin in moving the heart.
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director

If you like to listen to the song that inspire this Walking Man's morning walk's Brandon Move Away by
Judy Domeny Bowen  > <