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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Dear President-Elect Biden pick the Secretary who looks past the masses to the one child


Imagine if policymakers and legislators, saw the child, and not the test score?
I never ever tire of reading Loren Eiseley's The Starfish thrower. "A young girl was walking along the long stretch of a seashore one morning, where after a terrible storm, thousands of starfish had been washed ashore.
The striking aspect of the young girl’s walk is that,
As she walked along the beach,
She would pick up one starfish at a time and gently throw it back into the ocean.
An older gentleman observing her,
Approaches her, and out of curiosity,
He asked her why she was throwing the starfish into the ocean. The girl replies with urgency in her voice that, with the sun up and the tide declining, she needed to get these starfish in the water, or they would die.
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference.”
The girl listened.
But then, she bends down and picks up another starfish and throws it into the sea, and
She said, “It made a difference for that one”

At 65, the teacher in me, like the teacher I was at 65, understands that teaching and learning are not about the masses. It is always about making a difference one starfish at a time.
This is what our policymakers, legislators, and CEOs chasing test scores can understand. To them, it is an all or none kind of view.
These very people have failed to fully fund all public schools. They cry budget deficits every year, demanding teachers save all on the cheap. This we can't afford more leadership endlessly blaming teachers, children, parents, and those public schools for all society's ills. They are like that old broken vinyle record stuck on the same beat, And so am I. I have written see the child not the test scores 10,000 times. I shall not tire, I shall write it 10,000 more, The story of teaching and learning is not written in numbers, The story is always about one child at a time. At 65, like the teacher, I was at 25, I have always known,
We can't do the masses on the cheap.
But, making the difference to one-child looking up at any given moment of our teaching day,
We'll save one child at a time,
For 10,000 years,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my walk this morning through the snow? Its "We Shall Be know" cover by Thrive Choir.

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