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Monday, September 26, 2022

Truth to power: About This Teacher Shortage: Our Policymakers and Reformers Have No Clue


Many policymakers and education reformers have little experience teaching. Those policymakers who have experience tend to make their way out of the classroom as quickly as possible. Sometimes I think it is because they never enjoyed teaching. 

They often desire to reduce teaching to some standardization formula. Often the very type of reforms dehumanize teaching and believe teachers are like mechanical parts on some assembly line. In the end, they do more to hurt the recruitment and retention of teachers than almost anything else. 

Dr. Elliot Eisner, Professor Emeritus of Education and Art at Stanford University, who brought a history of teaching in Chicago public school before he passed, describes six teacher satisfaction for teachers. I always love this one:

"Despite the beliefs of some well-intended technocrats, there are no recipes for performance, no teacher-proof scripts to follow. Teaching well requires improvisation within constraints. Constraints there will always be, but in the end, teaching is a custom job within which the teacher becomes an inseparable part of what is taught." 

If you like to read about his six teacher satisfactions? Dr. Larry Cuban's blog is well worth the visit.

Truth to Power: These policymakers and education reformers without genuine classroom experience have no clue how to recruit and retain our nation's public school teachers. 

We cannot standardize the desire to teach,

Dr. Turner 

CCSU Literacy Center Director 

Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes gave us a clue decades ago. Just in case you like to listen to this tune that inspired my morning walk. 

"Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way

Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to sayCause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their handsWhen you teach the children teach em the very best you can
The world won't get no better if we just let it beThe world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me" 
Teachers, we can do this! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

#OSOSTeachTruth and me


The idea that there are some places in America, that don’t want history teachers to use the term Nazis, frightens me.  I am committed to teaching the truth because it is the only lesson offering the possibility to change the world. 

My grandfather introduced me to Dr. King's Principles of Non-Violence at an early age. Back in our day, everyone walked to and from school. It was in second grade. You tended to walk with the same people. Robert always wore his Yamaka. I always thought it was cool, never really understood why he always wore it. 

5 of us young fellers would walk home together, horse playing around, boys being boys. Until one day John turned to Robert and asked why do you always wear that stupid hat? That eerie silence that comes with an impending crisis surrounded us. 

Now Robert was kind of small, I was somewhere between big and small, and John and the other two were giant bullies. We thought walking with them, laughing at their joke, kicking over a few garbage cans, and sneering at other kids, brought us protection. Boys being boys was not fun for Robert and me, it was our way of buying protection. 

I knew it as soon as the words left Robert's lips, I'm Jewish, that my Hebrew kippah. John started punching, and the other two join in and kept shouting punch the Jew. Robert was taken back, and for three of the longest seconds of my life, I stood motionless watching my friend being punched and kicked. On the fourth second, I became a Pitbull punching, kicking, biting, and shouting to leave Robert alone. Robert started fighting back, and while we did not win the fight, we won the war or at least a strange sort of peace. We kept our distance and they kept theirs. 

When I told my grandfather the story, he said son, sometimes you have to defend yourself, but I been in a World War, and my sons in another. Fighting things doesn't change anything. Then he started my education on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and that August shortly after I turned 8 years old, he took to “The People’s March in Washington DC. I struggle at times with non-violence, if you hit me, I am going to hit you back. Dr. King is the better man, I’m still working on that. I have so very far to go, but I am headed to that place. I still working on that not hitting back to being hit part. 
If you would like to learn more about the Principals of Non-Violence here is a link:

Grandfather, your namesake son has learned to turn the cheek, stand up for right, and to teach truth,

Love,                                                                                                                                                        Little Jess 

Just in case you want to learn some more about the National Days of Teaching Truth Campaign here is a link to a three-minute news story about it.

If you like to find out more about Uniting to Save Our Schools here is a link

Monday, April 18, 2022

Reading The Final Frontier

 “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ~ George Orwell, 1984

Florida Reject 41% of new school textbooks. “The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an "alarming" 71% were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics.”

Leadership in Florida reminds me that Orwell's 1984 may be more non-fiction than fiction. Here are the men who decide whose books make it into the curriculum. Therefore, Uniting to Save Our Schools is supporting the effort to make May National Days of Teaching Truth.

The fools, these mind controlling fools, they left us, our libraries, bookstores and the Internet,

Stranger then, fiction,                                                                                                                                      Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher

PS: 1984 is the most banned book of all time in the USA and always in top list in Russia.

It you like to listen to the tune from my morning walk today its  Propellerheads feat: Miss Shirley Bassey - History Repeating 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Teaching Has Become My Bridge Over Troubled Water


Songs speak to me. Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Trouble Water is always on my playlist these days, <

Lately, I have found my teaching is more about helping our elder teachers to hold on, 
Helping our younger ones to know there is a better day coming,
I still teach the clinical skills needed for Literacy Specialists and future teachers,
I am a more the kind elder, 
More understanding, 
More compassionate, 
More human.

A teaching reminder,
that joy matters more than the numbers,
That we are the hope in the wilderness.

It is a burden too heavy,
But it is my burden of love.

Each night, I close my our Literacy Center door,
I walk slower these days,
More tired, 
I pray Lord lift these teachers up,
Give them hope,
Show them love.
It is a short stroll to the parking lot.

The burden gets lighter,  
As, I pick from my teaching heroes,
Selecting from these precious memories of those teachers,
Who lifted me,
In times of darkness,
Those names are my bridges over trouble waters.

Let me say, 
Their names?

Mr. Bass, 
Who fed me stories,
Who gave me the coat, hat, gloves in that coldest winter,
Who called my sister Jessica,
Jessica, your mother can’t do it,
Your brother can’t sleep in the train station, and succeed in school,
You need to help them both,
Talk to your husband,
Don’t ask him, 
Tell him, you will take him in. 

Mrs. Stanfield,
Said Young Man, you will not hand me in first drafts as your only drafts,
This is Honors English.
I don’t take one shot essays. 
She lit the fire,
She gave us,
Left us Macaulay “'Then out spoke brave Horatius”, The Captain of the Gate.

Dr. Jerry Weiss,
Who said, you are an urban educator,
Understand this comes with an extra responsibility, 
Young Mr. Turner, you can not only teach the skills,
You must learn to light the fire.

Dr. Dorothy Menosky,
Ask your wife to invite me down to lunch on Saturday,
Explain I have something to ask of her, young Erin, and you,
That lunch became, 
I am asking your family to go on a quest to become a teacher of teachers,
It might be the hardest thing you have ever attempted,
I would not ask it of you without Carolyn and Erin’s full support.
That lunch set in motion my quest to become Doctor Turner,
The teachers of teachers.

Dr. Yetta Goodman, 
She gave me a greater purpose,
Put me on a mission of change,
Called me her Ghetto Doc,
Help me see the bigger picture,
She led by example,
Her teaching like a cool stream on a hot day,
Her voice was my prophet in the desert,
She require teachers know the research from everywhere,
The research you agreed and disagreed with,
You must understand it all informs your thinking Jesse.
I want you to lead with,
Research, and 
Double up on that hope.

There are others,
My list is long.
Teachers are my heroes,
My hero Teachers lighten my burden,
And, I leave the parking lot understanding,
Like my hero teachers,
I am a bridge over troubled waters,
I sleep well, 
My burden less heavy, 
And I am ready for whatever may come. 

I am a bridge over troubled waters,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
CCSU Literacy Center Director

If you want to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk to day its Labi Siffre's Something Inside So Strong > <

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

America's Apple Pie is Rotten says this Old School Teacher


RACISM 101 America Apple Pie is Rotten 

Catholic Charity Workers at rallies for The Poor Peoples March often carry signs that say Fight Poverty Not the Poor.  War everywhere is war. Make no mistake in this land of the free and the brave there is a war on poor children and the teachers who teach them. 

This has been my toughest teaching year, not because things are hard where I am at. Things have never been better here at our CCSU Literacy Center. CCSU has given us a dream space, and room to dream. 

What is tough is hearing from the teachers I work with about the vast inequitable learning and working conditions between schools that educate White Affluent Children, and schools that educate Black, Brown, and Poor Children. It crushes me to hear stories of legally required special education and literacy not being provided to our Black and Brown children in poor schools. To hear about middle schools without specials, (art, music, Home Economics, Wood and Metal shops. Middle schools without Literacy Specialists, and Librarians. When Michelle Alexander writes about the School to Prison Pipelines these are the schools she is writing about. It does not surprise me in the least that these schools are mainly located in Black and Brown communities.  America has never given the same resources to all our public schools. My thinking is this America Apple Pie has two halves, one side rotten, and the other is ready to eat and enjoy. 
Wealthy Affluent White Schools have it all, while poor urban and rural schools that educate Black and Brown Children lack the very basics of public education that can transform schools from prison pipelines to learning and teaching places of possibility. At CCSU I teach teachers and children from that two-sided apple pie. I do my best to lift all teachers, go out of my way to lift children and teachers from that rotten side of America Apple Pie. 

Our Literacy Center provides the model of what should and could be. It is the place where all children, parents, and teachers are lifted. I do my best to make our CCSU Literacy Center as inviting and welcoming as possible. Everyday our teachers and children have hours of that better place. 

This year, the vast inequalities sometimes break me.  Alone at the end of the night, I clean up a bit, turn off the light, and sit in the dark and cry. I live in an America who cannot find it in its heart to do right by all our children, teachers, and public schools. On the tearful nights I find myself thinking maybe it is time to retire, you can do it, you have the years, you can walk away, and leave the fight to others? I pick up my bag, lock the door, and think I cannot leave now. Someone needs to say it can be different. Someone needs to say come in, rest your weary loads, and stay for 3 hours of what should be. I wish it were different. I wish America would declare war on poverty not the poor, not on Black and Brown children, their teachers, and schools.

I am an old school teacher, taught by old school teachers. Teacher who has us read John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. My Old School English Teacher Mrs. Stansfield said this book is banned in many places. Banned because some say it has offensive language. There is not one word of profanity in it, but truth rings loud on every page. We shall read it together, and then watch the old black and white movie as well, cause Henry Fonda voice gives life to the life of Steinbeck's Tom Joad at the very end. We shall read it not because it is on the approved curriculum. We shall read it, because it offers America Hope. 50 years later I can still hear Ms. Stansfield read it, still see her cry when Henry Fonda gives voice to Tom Joad at the end. 
It is not just the inequality that is hurting Black and Brown children today, it is the silencing of the voices of old school teachers with test driven mandates.  I can hear that old school teacher reading:
“You don’t aim to kill nobody, Tom?”
“No. I been thinkin’, long as I’m a outlaw anyways, maybe I could — Hell, I ain’t thought it out clear, Ma. Don’ worry me now. Don’ worry me.”
They sat silent in the coal-black cave of vines. Ma said, “How’m I gonna know ’bout you? They might kill ya an’ I wouldn’ know. They might hurt ya. How’m I gonna know?”
Tom laughed uneasily, “Well, maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one — an’ then —”
“Then what, Tom?”
“Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be ever’where — wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ — I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build — why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes.”

 Until the pie is made healthy and good for all, I will be here every night, and you will find me fighting the good fight every chance I get outside my schoolhouse door.  I am an old school teacher to the end. 

My teaching heart is breaking, but not my teaching spirit,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director 

I shall be an old school teacher to the very endI
I shall be an old school teacher to the end

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk this morning. It's Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello performing "The ghost of Tom Joad"

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Heart Broken Teacher of Teachers


My Heroes Are Falling,
My heart is breaking,
My body is exhausted, 
I fall to my knees,
Fold these hands,
I lookup,
I carry on. 

Maybe I am just too stupid not to leave.
Too stubborn to give up now.
Born for this fight,
Blessed by my Momma's angels, saints, candles, and prayers.
We look through the assessment data from his urban middle choice school,
Dr. Turner and his former Literacy Center Teacher,
Now Middle School Reading Teacher.


He said: "Dr. Turner, I am lost,
Exhausted, and
One step away from leaving."

Show me the data?
14% of their six, seventh, and eighth-graders reading at grade level,
A vast majority reading 4 or more grades behind,
I said our children need an army of tutors,
Our teachers need an aide in every class.
You should have seen their eyes roll,
Their ice stares,
The mocking shakes of their heads? 

We can't do that,
What is the plan?
Buy more of the same tech invention programs that took them to this place.
I did my best to sell change is coming.

The Reading teacher is leaving.
Sir, I am sorry,
Can you blame him?
I can't,
I can't,
I can't.

You have nothing to be sorry for,
25 years of giving your all,
25 years of lifting children,
25 years of spending your own money,
25 years of being first in the building and last out.

I will not have you,
One who is my hero,
Be sorry for giving your all. 
What is my hero doing next Thursday?

Next Thursday,

I shall join New Haven Public School Teachers as they rally the fight for their classrooms.
Come with me,
Leave fighting,
Leave standing.
Remember this one last Dr. Turner truth?
You, sir, have not anything to be sorry about,
25 years of diving in the deep end of the pool,
25 years of pulling children out from the deep end. 
25 years equals not one single sorry moment.
Let us be heroes together one more time? 

Urban teachers are far past the boiling point,
This is the breaking point.
I say it is time for a national walkout,
Anyone saying we can't do that,
Did not study Dr. King,
Did not study the Women's Suffrage Movement, 
Did not study Elie Wiesel, 
Did not study Congressman John Lewis,
Did not study the Battle of Thermopylae,
Did not study Macaulay's Brave Horatius Captain of the Gate, 
Did not study the life of Mother Teresa. 
Here me teachers, 
This is the time!

Dr. Jesse P. Turbner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher,
Heart Broken Teacher of Teachers
Inspired Teacher of teachers

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk today, it is Makana's ZOccupy Anthem, "We Are The Man.". 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Unacceptable silence 20 years of failed Education Reforms

Every teacher knows it is not the children that cause teachers to leave; it is poor administrators and leadership.
Teachers are leaving,
Not because students are swearing at them,
But, because Administrators turn their heads.

Teachers are leaving not because students are throwing books out their classroom windows,
But, because Adminstators turn their heads.

Teachers are leaving not because students are throwing school laptops out their classroom window,
But, because Administrators turn their heads.

Teachers are leaving not because students are out of control,
Teachers are going because administrators have lost control.

This is not happening everywhere; this is happening where budget cuts have let librarians, music teachers, art teachers, social workers, and counselors go and increase class sizes.

Teachers are leaving urban and poor rural schools because the district administrators have decided there are no consequences for bad behavior and poor administrative decisions.

This is happening because chasing test scores have become more important than opening minds.
Trust me on this teacher shortage is the direct result of the worst Education Reform Leadership in our lifetimes.

Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire my morning walk today? It is Crosby, Stills, and Nash's Teach your Children Well

Monday, March 7, 2022

Fear of Teachers Teaching Historical Truths

Dear Opposers of Critical Race Theory and Book Banners,
Reflecting on these Book Banners and their Anti Critical Race Theory attacks. I see what they fear. When I taught Tohono O’odham Nation Students in Tucson, Arizona. We fully embraced history and the truth. We use literature and poetry to face it head on, dealt with painful historical truths. I was looking through my dissertation this morning and came upon this poem written by a Tohono O’odham students from the reservation. 
Dennis Leyne (age 16) wrote:

“THESE ROOTS” (1997)
If a people don’t have roots,
What do they build on?

We can’t give them wings, and
If we can’t give them roots,
What will they relate to?

If we start to deny our history,
Our culture,
Our Existence,
The facts,
What are we doing?

We are sanitizing history,
Then what do we hold sacred?

Looking back 23 years to my days as a high school teacher of Native American students in Tucson Arizona. I see clearly what is at stake if we fail to address historical truths in our classroom for Native American students, and all our diverse students we attempting to sanitize history and to clip the wings of America's young people.
Why, cause knowing one roots is empowering, and empowering America's young diverse students liberates them. It give them the roots to change the world. Who doesn't want to change the world? RACISTS!  


If you are wondering which song inspire my morning walk today? Its Bob Marley's "Stand Up for Your Rights".

Back in the day!
Back in the day! 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Teacher stories inspired me as a homeless child. They still inspire me 56 years later.


On the Facebook page of the Badass Teachers Association, Jessica a future teacher commented I hear so much negativity about teaching on this Facebook page. Tell me something good about teaching?
Jessica, at 66, I could not think of a more rewarding career. The pay is not great, the work is tough, but the stories keep me alive. I did not enter teaching blindly. I knew from the start it would be hard. I entered the profession on a mission to be different. School of Education of Kentucky Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig recently said if new teachers are mission-driven, they want to change the world. I chase this mission to bring joy, equity, and justice into my teaching and learning. Someday it looks like I am making some headway, and others that mission appears elusive at best. 

The stories keep me going, and if I had to start again, I would not change anything.
With that in mind, part of the stories that crush me is the stories of teachers being abused by failed education policies that demoralized them. So, part of my mission is standing with them, and that has become part of the stories that inspire me. Teachers inspired me as a homeless kid, and teacher stories inspire me still. 

On the night Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died he said:
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” Martin Luther King, Jr., told an overflowing crowd in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, where the city’s sanitation workers were striking. “But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land” 

Something in my bones tells me that there is a promised land for teachers and our good and tough stories lead the way. Come teach, for a while, a lifetime, and know that it is also fine to leave when you need to. If you stay? Know that staying requires a mission worthy of staying If you leave? Know that leaving requires a mission worthy of others to pick up. 

Every teacher new, old, retired, and in between is worthy of some teacher love,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Uniting to Save Our Schools 
Proud Badass Teacher 

PS Future Teachers don't let our battle scared stories taint you, teaching takes a lot out of you, like all work it can wear you down, but it also gives in return. Teachers leave when they need to leave, and every teacher whether they are leaving or starting new deserves our respect. 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my walk this morning? Its Public Enemy's "Don't believe the Hype"

"Don't believe the hype, its a sequel
As an equal, can I get this through to you
My 98's boomin' with a trunk of funk
All the jealous punks can't stop the dunk
Comin' from the school of hard knocks" 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Our History Teachers Made Sure We would Recognize that Nazis Playbook if it came around

I have seen this hater playbook before

I know why these new haters want to Ban books,
Burning Books,
Intimidate us,
Ban factual history,
Because it exposes,
Their hate,
Their twisted sense of freedom of speech silencing others.

We had history teachers that made sure we would recognize that Nazis playbook,
Made sure that we would face them head-on,
Made sure we would not be silent,
Made sure we would stand up when the time came.
History matters,
History teachers matter.

Because History Teachers matter,
People are standing up to hate,
I am standing up with our history teachers.

Bless by history teachers that matter,
Dr. Jesse. P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Bad Ass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that I listened to on my morning walk today, it was the Beatles "Revolution"

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Missing in Action Good Stewards in our Public Schools


During the last twenty years it appears that high-stakes testing and school choice without equity policies driving education reform, and all they have achieved is demoralized teaching force, Common Core State Standards, and schools as racially segregated at before the landmark 1954 Brown vs the Board of Education ruling.  I find myself asking where are the good policymaker stewards speaking up and defending children, parents, teachers in communities of color? Where are the stewards asking the tough questions of why has nothing changed after spending nearly two trillion dollars on education reforms? When do we send stewards to speak with and deeply listen to our teachers, children, parents, and yes administrators? In my humble opinion our policymakers have not done what Massachusetts first Commissioner of Education Horace Mann did for six years on the job. Horace Mann visited every public school in his state, noted inequalities, listened, and engage educators and communities in discussion about the valued of public education. Who are our policymakers listening to? From my view it is CEOs, Non Educators, lobbyists, and publishers?

Understanding why teachers leave their chosen profession. Requires leadership seeing leadership that time and time again seeking to please CEOs. Not doing right by our children, teachers, and local community schools.

Good stewards are committed to selfless service. There is no desire for power. They do not need to be in charge or exert control over others. Everything about No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, School Choice, and the closing of local community schools begs to ask the question; Where are the good stewards of public education? These education reforms are deeply rooted in power and control, and teachers fleeing are leaving because they reject being controlled.
I stand with these fleeing teachers,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk this morning, it's that classic Crosby, Stills and Nash "Teach Your Children"

Monday, January 31, 2022

Book banners fear their children becoming empathetic

These book Banners, these Anti Critical Race Theory haters, are not afraid their children might fell hurt by reading diverse books. What they fear most is their children might feel empathy for others. When you look beyond the slogans of indoctrination, you’ll find that future hate depends on rising new generations of haters. Nothing kills Hate like empathy. Empathy builds understanding, teaching us to walk a mile in another’s shoes. In other words, empathy teaches children to value, respect, and appreciate others. There is not anything that threatens future generations of hate other than empathy.

In 1990 Dr. Rudine Sim-Bishop wrote her seminal essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors. See the short link shares 25 years of African American Read-In inspired by Dr. Sims-Bishop herself. 

Bigots hate mirrors, fear windows, and lack the empathy to walk in another person's shoes. Their very existence depends on growing future new generations lacking empathy. Hate is unable to look in the mirror, for if it does it breaks. 

Reading diverse books, bring us together, teaching us to treat each other with dignity, but most of all give us the courage to see ourselves in the mirror, and wisdom to see we are far more alike than we are different.

I read Diverse books,

I teach with Diverse books,

I value Diverse books,

Not for others,

But for that America Langston Hughes dream about:

“O, let America be America again,

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.”

Trust me these book banners, these Anti-Critical Race Theory haters, are not afraid that diverse books will hurt the self-esteem of their children, but that their children might discover an empathy that “might bring back our mighty dream again”.
Looking forward to our CCSU Literacy Center celebrating Black History month and participating in our 23rd African-American Read-In,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
CCSU Literacy Center Director 

If you like to hear from Dr. Rudine Sims-Bishop herself talking about diverse books, this clip opens the door to her thoughts about the transformative power of diverse books in 90 seconds.

Monday, January 24, 2022

This teacher shortage: A tale of two teaching worlds


Teaching is a tale of two teaching worlds.
If you teach in an affluent community?
You earn more money, 
You have more say in curriculum choices, 
You have better health care,
You have better retirement packages,
You have more resources,
You have more specialized staff support,
You have beautiful, fully staffed libraries, 
You have more choices for sports,
You have better maintained and cleaner buildings, 
Your students have access to more books,
Your students have more access to 
You have meaningful professional development.
You have more respectful treatment from administrators.
Yes, you still have struggles, challenges, and hard work to do,
But, it does not wear you down. Teachers are not fleeing poor schools, because they don't want to teach.
They are fleeing abusive working conditions,
They are fleeing abusive learning conditions,
Conditions, that are doing great harm to the children they teach,
They are fleeing failed unjust leadership,
They are fleeing the inhumanity of a system that regularly spends 20 Billion Dollars more on wealthy schools than poor schools,
Their hearts are broken,
They are fleeing, because they can't take it any longer. 

First, Truth to Power moment about our teacher shortage. There will be no teacher shortage in affluent public schools. This shortage is real, but it will not be happening in our Affluent Public Schools. 

Second Truth to Power moment, give our teachers teaching in our Poor Communities all the above, and there will be no teacher shortage. The lack of our policymakers and legislators' will to bring equity to our public schools for children harms both child and teacher. 

Third Truth to Power, America is willing to see the collapse of public education rather than do the right thing for all our children. 

Last Truth to Power, give all teachers what wealthy schools have, and watch learning bloom for all of America's children.  

Rise up:
Building a public will for doing the right thing for all children, teachers, and public schools is the only way to end this teacher shortage. Anything less increases the prison population and increases teacher flight from our poorest public schools.

Silence and apathy are the biggest threats to our public schools,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk, it "Teach Your Children Well" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

"You, who are on the road
"Must have a code
That you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye"

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Dr. Turner, this is no Teacher Shortage, it is a Teacher Flight from Insanity


Teacher shortage or is this teacher flight? 

Being from Jersey means you play until you fall, and if you get knocked down, you get back up and fight on. 
I am a 66-year-old-school teacher from Jersey. If you think I'm walking away? You don't know Jersey Boys. So, tune in on Friday 1/14/ at 11:AM on 103.5 FM for round 15 in the fight to save our public schools. 

From 2001 to 2022, I have watched some 2 plus trillion tax dollars spent on NCLB, RTTT CCSS, and ECSA, the most massive failing Public School Education Reforms in history. I have fought them every step of the way. Walked from Connecticut to DC twice, joined 2 Occupies of the United States Department of Education, marched several times on DC with Uniting to Save Our Schools and the Badass Teachers. March with Moral Mondays for Black Lives Matter because it is all connected. I sounded the Fire Alarm at America's Schoolhouse in December on the last broadcast. Our public education system is rightfully called a School to Prison Pipeline and is in danger of collapsing. 
Now, ask our policymakers, governors, and the United States Department of Education what they have? Trust me, it is more of the same failed policies, more testing, more for-profit charter schools, more school choice without equity scams.  

When I started 24 years at Central Connecticut State University. My teacher education courses were overflowing, and students were always at my door asking, please, Dr. Turner, let me into your course. 

2001 Then came No Child Left Behind, which reduced children to test scores. Classes were still full, but no one needed an override to be let in. Who wants to teach in a school where children are data points? 

2008 Then came Common Core State Standards, not created by teachers, but governors and testing company CEO(s). Who wants to teach standards written by non-educators? So, more students left.

2010 Next came Race to The Top. It promoted closing struggling local community schools. Not helping them but closing them down. Replacing them with for-profit Charter Schools. And non-elected school boards of education. After that, one-half of my students were gone. Who wants to teach to the test and thinks closing community schools is wise? So, the number kept falling.

2015 Then came the Every Child Succeeds Act, more of the same old same old failed Education Reforms. Who wants to teach in public schools led not by those teachers closest to children in the classroom? They keep leaving.

2019 Now comes COVID, and hundreds of billions of dollars were given to states to make schools safe, but teachers and parents have no clue where that money went. Who wants to teach in schools where there is no transparency in spending? Who thinks future teachers want to teach in a system that fails to fully fund our public schools? A system that spends more money on wealthy schools than poor schools? Who wants to teach in a system that fails to give teachers the resources and funding needed to make a difference?

2022 Come on up for the rising. This Jersey Boy is getting back up on Friday, and I won't be alone. I am bringing Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, Dr. of the School of Education University of Kentucky,
Dr. Denisha Jones, Director: Art of Teaching Program at Sarah Lawrence University, and Professor Cara Mulcahy, Author and Professor of Literacy, Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Central Connecticut State University. They are my A-Team, and we are fighting to save Teacher Education in America.

Get ready to hear us discuss; if this is a teacher shortage or a poor Education policy-driven flight from teaching.

Get My fight Song on, 
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Uniting to Save Our Schools 
Proud Badass Old School Teacher   

If you like to hear what tune inspired my morning walk today. It's Lulu singing To Sir With Love, with Sidney Poitier. > <

Monday, January 3, 2022

My wife left for work today


My wife left to teach this morning, worried about COVID spread and the children she teaches. She had no voice in their return face to face as Connecticut's positivity rate jumped over the 20% mark. She did what teachers everywhere are doing across Connecticut; she turned up, not because she thought it suitable for her students. She turned up because regardless of what the system throws at her, she turned up for her students, just like she has done for 20 years. She deserves better. Her students, colleagues, parents, and her community deserved better. I am the proud husband of one of the many teachers turning up every day for their students. I am not proud of policymakers and leadership that could not have waited another two weeks, Teachers are the first responders of our children, and leadership that does not listen to them is the wrong leadership. Respectfully,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner, whose university has chosen to go remote.
Thank you to everyone turning up >