This blog welcomes readers who believe that No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top, and Every Student Succeeds Act are misguided educational reform policies that rely too heavily on standardized test scores that are too focused on punitive measures against local schools. This is also the diary of Jesse Turner's 2010/15 walks to Washington DC from Connecticut, and his occupation of the DOE in DC with United Opt Out, and his opposition to public school choice policies without equity.
"I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine,
I picked up my shovel, and I walked to the mine,
I loaded 16 tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said,
"Well, a-bless my soul."
Momma always called me her chicken soup boy. She came to call "Chicken Soup Boy" when we were homeless and spending our nights sleeping in the train station.
One night when we settled down on our usual wooden bench. We were surrounded by all our worldly possessions of one suitcase and two paper bags; tears started running down her face, and she kept apologizing for our circumstances. I looked at her, and said Momma doesn't this bench feel softer tonight? I'm starting to like this place.
Don't be sorry; it is like Ernie Ford's song 16 tons.
I'm big, and
I am loving these 16 tons.
She looked at me, wiped her tears, and said you are like chicken soup for a cold. You are warm, good, and fill my heart to the brim. It wasn't easy back then, and to be honest, it was me crying most nights. Things often get worst when you are down. Victor Hugo said, "Misery follows poverty." The poor have been carrying the load for this world for far too long. Somethings break you, and some make you. Momma carried her 16 tons with dignity, grace, and love.
Neither Poverty nor any 16 tons made me. I was made strong by a mother whose love still sustains me.
We all have loads to carry, woes to bear, and dark nights find daylight.
Friends, may your load grow lighter, and dignity, grace, and love always lift you up.
Keep the faith,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
AKA Momma's Chicken Soup Boy
If you like to listen to the song that inspired my walk today, its Tennesse Bernie Ford 16 Tons