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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Giving Tuesday: Do not say Grace without giving a little

 Please, Lord, don't move that mountain?

People call me Dr. Turner,
People think me proud,
People see me a strong:

But, there were mountains,
I say there were stronger times,
Times my dignity was tested,
Times strength failed me,
Times I was so far down,
That up was all I had.

I have been unemployed,
I have needed food stamps,
I have been evicted,
I have been down.

Never alone,
Never lost,
He gave me my mountain,
On my knees,
I could see it clearly,
I could put one foot in front of the other,
I could climb.

For my sisters and brothers struggling, may the Lord not move your mountain.
May you find love,
May you find joy,
May you find love,
May peace find you,
May you know hope.
May the Lord raise you up.

For you are our sister and brother,
For you worthy,
For you are loved.
Come, let us climb together.

Give as generously as you can to the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the sick this Thanksgiving. You don't need me to tell me where to give. You have a million places to give this giving Tuesday. Just give a little of what you can, for we are not a people divided, but a people united by love.

Do not say grace this Thursday without giving,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our School If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk, it's Etta James "don't move that mountain"

Thursday, November 19, 2020

If giving up equals losing, than not giving up is victory

My treasure from Angie Listo Tribal Gaming Chair when I left Arizona

 This one is for my good friend Ron Rice and his son Asher Rice from the city of Brotherly Love.

When I was a kid, we use to play king of the hill, it was always good fun, except when Billy played. Billy was a bully, pushed to hurt, and cheated. None of us could knock him off the top. As far as I can remember none of us ever did. One long bloody nose and dirty face day. My friend Juan said we should go, no one can knock Billy off the top. No one ever did, but that day, one kid never gave up. He kept going back up, bleeding, crying, just kept trying. The same knockdown results over and over again. Until it started getting dark, Billy said it is time to go home now. Not for me, I'm staying until you fall. Billy laughed and said I'm outta here stupids. He left, and Juan and I climbed to the top of the hill. The hill was ours. I never really understood what that bloody nose meant until decades later when I taught on the Tohono O'odham Nation and met Danny Lopez a respected Tohono O'odham. I invited Mr. Lopez to my class to speak with our students. Every one of them knew Danny Lopez, he was a revered Elder. Now, you don't tell Elders what to speak about, you just invite them, knowing whatever they talk about is going to be positive. I was thinking about Danny helping my students, but Danny ended up helping me understood why I kept climbing back up that hill against Billy. I knew it is in my character not to give up, but I always thought it was just stubbornness. Danny enlightened me that day. He told my students... Your parents and we Elders have always warned you that evil is always lurking, watching, seeking to grab you. Am I correct? Tell what we tell you about Evil? Everyone shared a story about either a parent or elder warning them about evil. Danny smiled and said glad to hear you have been warned. Now I am going to tell something good. Since the Creator made the world, evil has fought against all that is good. It is well that good fights evil. Everyone knows this. But, have you ever wondered how it ends? There is a clear line between Good and Evil. You don't need to be told which is which. Some people promise Good shall win. I don't think in terms of some winning moment. I just hope never tires. Young ones accept my O'odham truth: The Creator gave Good an unbeatable spirit, A heart that never accepts defeat, Good's spear is an endless hope, Every time Evil think Good in defeat, Hope flies straight and stings the Evil every time. Good's message has always been victory is never giving up. Danny taught us, not giving up is the way of goodness. Don't give up, Jesse The Walking Man Turner Ron Rice If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk today? It Peter Gabrial's "Don't Give up"

The Tohono O'odham people believe life is a reflective learning journey through the Creator's Maze 

Some say I taught O'Odham students, but I say they taught me. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Beyond the domestication of learners


I came across this 1989 quote in one of my old books. I survey them regularly, mining for treasures. I picked it up to see if its wisdom still held the test of time. I read Henry A. Giroux: 'One cannot understand how literacy functions as a way of legitimating particular forms of life, authority, unless one questions the particular interests, purposes, and values implicit in its meaning and social practices." He went on to say: "One of the most important projects for teachers in the next decade will be the development of a "Critical Literacy" that incorporates the politics of cultural diversity with a view of pedagogy that recognizes the importance of democratic life." Like Dewey and Freire, Giroux understands education must be more than some domestication of future generations. More than some static score or standard objective measure devoid of the humanity of who learners are. Dr. Girous was a young scholar then, and he had his eyes on this functional literacy curricula focus domesticates learners. Hides from them the possibility of something greater. Something that builds bridges from where we came from, where we are now, and where we might go next. Laboratory literacy putting learners in charge of their own destiny, empowering them to reshape the world. He saw dominant views of reading and writing with their emphasis on mastery learning and standardized testing as status quo gatekeepers preventing literacy and learning from becoming the means of liberation for that could lead diverse populations into redefining education that educates learners to lead, govern, and to create a more just world. Why such an emphasis on high-stakes testing? You only need to understand that testing is a gatekeeper holding future generations from becoming brave new leaders. Leaders needed to break this status quo bondage of functional literacy that fails to educate diverse populations to liberate themselves and the world. I, too, sing, I still read those old books that hold the test of time, This "Critical Literacy" That Liberates All, Dr. Jesse P. Turner Moral Monday CT Education Ambassador National Committee Uniting to Save Our Schools.

If you want to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk over the Avon Mountain its Curtis Mayfield's Power to the people

"Hardening crimes is a part of the times nd it's rough for some people to live

Disease can move fast but it don't have to last
It is now the nation's turn for all to be concerned
We can be freer still, it is the people's will
And bring back the power for the people
That's all we ask in our country dear
The sick and the hungry are unable
Protect them and those who may live in fear
Power for the people
Power for the people
Power for the people"  ~ Curtis Mayfield

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Teachers feel things far beyond their pay scale

 Things no test score ever showed

What no standardized test ever showed..
When Fransico was murdered by the two men he gave a ride to, When young Alex our Honor Society star died in a crash on the reservation,
When you said to the school social worker and principal Little Billy has another bruise,
When his mother ask you to stop asking questions,
When Billy's family moved in the middle of the night,
When you went home and dropped to your knees and cried, When your heart shattered into a hundred thousand broken pieces, Never to put back together,
Teachers feel things far beyond their pay scale. If only our policymakers, CEOs, and legislators had a clue,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk its "Teacher Brandon moved away today" by Judy Dumeny Bowen

Friday, November 13, 2020

Fear Of A Public School Education That Liberates All

 Hard to believe America's Education Policies failed to ever understand that curriculum is not static, children not blank slates, and teachers, not robots. For over a hundred years, school prevented children and teachers from seeing the possibilities of a curriculum that lifts, inspires, and motivates all in our public schools. In 1902 John Dewey offered policymakers a brave new world.

His Progressive Education vision offered new possibilities of what curriculum in public school could be.
1. The curriculum must start where the learner is.
2. Experience in school must be relevant to the learner.
3. Children learn by doing.
4. School is not preparation for life; it is life.
5. In school, as in life, experiences should be integrated around problem-solving and inquiry.
6. The classroom must be democratic so that children will learn to participate in a democracy and to work with others in social groupings.
7. The curriculum of a school must satisfy the personal needs of all learners while it serves the needs of society.
If you ask me where that brave new world went? I would say it was stolen by small-minded policymakers, CEOs, and legislators who were afraid that children living in Dewey's brave new world would exceed every expectation ever imagined by him. Let me make it clear American public policymakers live in fear of a world where public education would liberate all children. They are fine with some, their own, but all scares the heck out of them.
Fight the power,
Rise up teachers,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Moral Monday CT Education Ambassador
Uniting to Save Our Schools National Committee
Professor of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education
If you want to listen to the song that I listen to on my morning walk today, its Risa Up by Andra Day