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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Tolstoy's Three Questions

50 years guided by 3 questions

I do not have big answers to the
Religious bigotry,

I have spent my life fighting not trying to save the world. Saving the world is beyond me. I have spent my life doing small goods. Not world changers, but maybe ones that help one person at a time. For, I was once that one person.

All I have are 3 questions,
Three questions with small answers,
To guide me in a world of hate, endless wars, refugees, and inequality.

Literature guides my thinking. Books and stories feed my soul.
Jon j. Muth's retelling of Leo Tolstoy's parable: "The Three Questions" is about an emperor who seeks a holy man on a mountain for answers he believes will help him be a great king.
This king believes that giving him the answers to the three most important questions will make him great.

Three questions we need to ask ourselves every day. Three questions that open our soul to our humanity.
1. When is the best time to do things? (NOW)!
2. Who is the most important one? (The one next to you)!
3. What is the right thing to do?
(The right thing)!

Simple truth: Being a humanitarian and making a difference, requires always doing the right thing, for the one standing in front of you. The time to do the right thing is always now.

May you live a just life,
May you stand tall on your last day,
May the love you give,
Last long after you are gone.

Happy Holidays,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
A Tolstoy Fan

If you like  to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk today, it is Nat King Cole's Silent Night.  


Thursday, December 14, 2023

No teacher is an Island we sail on that boat of past teachers and the books they shared

 My undergraduate and graduate students know about my journey from homeless kid to Professor through the lens of the loving, caring teachers who inspired me, and the books that held me strong in the darkness. Books and teachers saved my life, lifted me, and fed my soul with endless love ❤️

No teacher stands alone, every one of us is fortified by the teachers of our childhood, and the books they feed our souls. My teachers came in all colors and faiths.

I stand on a mountain of caring teachers, and the book they use to lift me up,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 

CCSU Literacy Center Director
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Proud Badass Teacher 

I wish all teachers peace, love, joy, and hope. If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my walk this morning it is Barry Lane's "If You Ever Had a Teacher" > <

Standing together with teaching hearts full of love and hope 

Friday, December 8, 2023

I am not afraid of the Big Bad AI

 High-Stakes Testing & AI: Be careful of what you wish for? Upfront, know that I reject the notion that standardized testing should drive learning. 

The Impact of High-stakes Testing on the Learning Environment

“ Kids today are literally spending half of their school year on learning how to take a high-stakes test, testing is adding up to about 5 months of their schooling. In elementary school, we are teaching our students how to take a test through tutorials, then setting up practice labs, and then practicing the actual test, and then we add in staff meetings and staff tutorials, it is overtaking our schools. Day in and day out testing is at the forefront of learning, and it is consuming are teacher’s daily curriculum. The pressure is high when being put in a position of being sanctioned or rewarded so it is difficult to spend less time teaching the material that will be on an achievement test.” ~ Maddolyn Ritt (2016 The Impact of High-stakes Testing on the Learning Environment  > <

Should anyone be surprised that 2 decades of high-stakes testing reducing learning to multiple choice and brief correct responses have made it easy for AI to build essays using these kinds of responses? Never mind how such learning reduces how teachers and students interact with each other. AI is the perfect essay for questions built on those 5-months of endless test prep from grades 3 to 12. Testing companies/CEOs wished for ways to profit, and policymakers and legislators gave it to them. Perhaps our learning motto should be American Children are Test Scores and Profits? 

Negative Effects of AI in Education EDU Passport 

“To begin with, AI may reduce the opportunities for students and educators to interact and socialize with each other. These interactions are important for developing skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, and collaboration. AI cannot fully substitute the human connection and the emotional support that educators and students provide to each other in the classroom.”  >,empathy%2C%20communication%2C%20and%20collaboration. <

Rather than discussing ways to enhance our human connections? Rather than discuss how AI may reduce how students and teachers interact and socialize, we are worried about AI writing essays for our students. Essays that over the past 2 decades have been watered down to factual short learning responses void of our personal, social, emotional, and cultural realities. Essay made to order for AI.
My students no longer question what they are learning, they really question why or what I ask of them. However, they always ask for the rubric, count the points, and chase points not learning. They play a game of filling boxes, not their minds. 

I have learned to ask those bigger questions about why and what we learn, asking learners to discuss, question, and respond not only with simplified facts, but to elaborate on how what they learn impacts them personally, socially, emotionally, politically, and culturally. Are there hidden agendas in what Dr. Turner is asking you to learn?  My best defense against AI, is to engage my students in discussions about bigger reasons for learning.

I am not afraid of the Big Bad AI,                                                                                                                Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
CCSU Literacy Center Director 

A short video blog on the above.

 Just in case you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk it is Peter Seeger singing the cover of "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds >

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

High-Stakes Testing hijacked PURPOSE!


If you were to rank and sort my old high school according to today’s standards and test scores. James J. Ferris would rank at the bottom. 

A Ghetto school whose teachers could care less about test scores and rankings. Our teachers were on a bigger mission than test scores, their standard was far bigger than any Common Core State Standard. Their goal was to make us literate adults, readers who loved and valued books. Valued books more than movies, valued reading to understand books prepared us for the best of times, and armored us for the worst of time. They Left so addicted to books that there has never been a night without reading in my life.  

I remember Mrs. Sheeran saying we are going to read an amazing book. Imagine two men in love with the same woman, one about to be executed in his cell. The one she loved most was about to die. Girls, can you feel her pain? Now imagine the other who loved her so much he would give up his own life just to make her happy. She said boys all of you raise your hand if you would make the same decision? Only my hand was up. The others were you are crazy Jesse, she said not crazy, but a true Romantic. I am the books I read, and yes I am a romantic. Then she read Dickens's opening of “A Tale of Two Cities”

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Then we got lost in that opening quote for the whole class. Increasing the pacing of her lesson had no place. She regularly stopped time for us, again and again. 

Then she gifted us with reading chapter one for homework. I read the whole book that night. Then each night I read each chapter anew as any True Romantic would. We love learning about the French Revolution, London, and Paris. She had us from day one and held us through novel after novel. This is how teachers did it before these high-stakes tests; hijacked the purpose for becoming literate. I hope this is the way a few still do.

Blessed by incredible teachers,                                                                                                            Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director 

If you want to hear the song I listened to on my morning walk today it is Lou Lou's " To Sire With Lov" >  < 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Momma, I can can see clearly now

 I would give it all up to go back to that dark day to say grace with Momma. 

Holidays have a way of lifting and breaking people, the lifting is easy, the breaking, well that takes more time. I am as blessed as any man, sitting around the fire here with our daughter, peeling potatoes with Carolyn, and singing Happy Chapin’s Greatest Hits on Vinyl. Loving every tune… Mr. Tanner, Cats in the Cradle, Taxi, 30,000 Pounds of Bananas, and All My Life is a Circle played. War is everywhere, but here at 110, we are safe, fed, warm, and blessed as can be. 

But then reflections come around, to that not quite 12 years old, Father abandoned, Thanksgiving before eviction. In every friend’s home, their Turkeys roast. Momma put our Thanksgiving feast of spaghetti and sauce on the table, reached across the table, and said join me in saying Grace. Now, I am not the soul I am today. I was just a boy consumed by anger and confusion of his life turned upside down. I yelled at her, saying it sucks, we have NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING, to be thankful for, and ran out of the kitchen. Put on my sneakers and ran out of the house. Leaving her alone. Alone, when she needed me most. Alone, like a million mothers. 

Kicking garbage cans, blaming my mother for everything. Knowing quite well, he left the month before when I jumped up and took the slap meant for her. Screaming I won’t let you hit her…he would be gone the next day, not even a note. As cruel as it sounds, he left for me, understanding his addictions, hate, and abuse would end up being on me. She knew; she accepted, she understood goodness in his leaving.

It would take 2 years of being homeless, and 15 more years for this boy to understand. He would come home to die, and she would take her grown son to visit him. Why, are we doing do, I hate him. He is your father, and if you love me, then you must forgive him, and love him. She said to go into the chapel for a bit. Looking up at the cross, I say he is not deserving. But, who is deserving? I pray forgive me, forgive him, forgive us all, Lord. Manhood is never easy, never simple, but it does come around.

I man up, go up the elevator to see this man, hold his hand, and say the word through crying eyes, I love you, Dad. That moment turns the tide, and I start a new manhood journey to being a better me. Momma knew it wasn't about her or him, it was always about their boy.  Not every I love you is real, comes easy, but every real I love you makes a boy a man. 

Thanksgiving regrets, after that Thanksgiving tantrum, I returned home to find Momma sitting in the dark, drinking her tea, smoking her cigarette, and crying. I wanted so much to run to her and say I am sorry Momma. I was just an angry confused little boy and rather than run to her I ran to my bed. I was not the man I am today; this man's stuff comes too late. I would give all I own to go back, say grace, and hug her until my arms were too weary to hold on. Things would change, the sun would come out again, and an angry and confused little boy would eventually become the loving son his mother needed. 

I love holidays, but memories do come around to students lost, Francisco and Alex, dear, sisters Jessica and Maryellen, Niece Cathy, and dearest brothers from other mothers, Jose, Anthony, and Michael. Greif comes around, but I am not the boy, I am a man grown to understand that the sun shines on many beautiful holidays. I am the man blessed with still more good ones to come. I am thankful for this day. I send my Thanksgiving wishes for peace in Ukraine, the Middle East, and every corner of the world. May peace and love rain down on all people, everywhere, all faiths, non-believers, races, and LGBTQ sisters and brothers.  Someday I too will be no more, but love is infinite, it has a way of hanging on long after. I know the love we share matters more than hate, and it is love that carries through. Momma, knew that and made sure I did as well. She left me a lifetime of her mother's love to hold me strong. Thank you, Momma. 

Today is good, today is blessed here at 110. I have only one regret, one I would give all I own to change. I would give it all up, to go back to that dark kitchen to say Grace with Momma and enjoy that most blessed Thanksgiving feast of spaghetti and sauce. Embracing her, loving her, saying Momma I finally understand. 

Blessed by the highs and the lows of a blessed loving mother who knew the sun would come out tomorrow. Cling to the good ones, God sent them to hold us strong. 

Wishing all a million more blessings,                                                                                                     Jesse the boy who understands 

If you want to know the tune on my mind this holiday. It is Jimmy Cliff " I can see clearly now" 

If I could time back time

Momma's boy until we are no more


Monday, November 20, 2023

Where did all the silly fun go

Establish a joyful school and classroom culture that assures equal opportunity to learn for all. Learners include teachers and leaders as well as students. ~ Regie Routeman 

We are going to have some fun with the children in our CCSU Literacy Center on Monday. Put a sign saying no kid is allowed to read this DANGEROUS Book! Make a big thing about saying their tiny brains can’t handle ideas. Everyone knows ideas are too dangerous for kids! Sometimes kids and Teachers need a little silly.
So much of school these days is Chrome Book Busy Work Sheet work. When children arrive at our Literacy Center, I always ask; what you did in school today... 

The most common response is boring stuff. Did you read anything exciting? The most common response is no, we didn't do any reading. If I dig a little deeper, I discover most of what is called reading is isolated skills, if they read something it most often is some decodable text.  The term joyful appears less and less in this high-stakes-testing upload your data-driven every-hour era.

Children run to our CCSU Literacy Center and hang out long after their sessions are over, we often have to tell them it is time to go home. I love to set up silly invitations to read, pretend that I don't want them to read....make it fun, and give out plastic gold medals for reading. Our children love to come here, our secret is Tier 3 tutoring by fully certified teachers and a little silly fun. 

I will bet my bottom last dollar that every single child read April Hillband's "This Book is Dangerous" and talks it up tonight.

Sometimes I wonder where joyful learning went in our schools,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
CCSU Literacy Center Director 

Don't tell the Policymakers, Data Junkies, or Rigor Ed Reformers. But tonight it is don't worry be happy We'll be jamming to a little Bobby McFerrin >


Sunday, November 19, 2023

ABC Went to the Ghetto today


People, this ABC story about truancy story is worth a look, but it misses the real story

ABC WENT TO THE Ghetto today! 

Poverty in our schools matters, 
Attendance matters,
Living wages matter,
Eviction matter,
Housing insecurity matters,
Hunger matters,
Gun violence matters,
Gangs matter,
Domestic abuse matters,
Health care matters.

Wake everybody,
An America that spends 23 billion dollars every year on predominately white wealthy public schools, then our poor schools in communities of color is the PROBLEM,
Is MORALLY Broken.
Our public schools are not broken,
Our children are not broke,
Our teachers are not broken.

The science reading can’t fix this chrome books won’t fix this,
All the HIGH-STAKES-TESTING in the world won’t fix this,
More rigor won’t fix this,
More Prisons won’t this,
American Dreams won’t fix this.

Dr. Rev. Dr. William Barber said that we are an America without a heart problem,
An America without a moral compass.

Yes, we have a poverty problem,
Yes, we have children who can’t read problem,
Yes, we have a truancy problem,
Yes, we have a gun problem. 

We have a NO Heart Problem,
A Compassion problem,
A Love All Children Problem,
A No Moral Compass Problem,
A Greed Problem.

These Media Whiz’,
Did not talk to Dr. Rev William J. Barber, II

They did not talk to parents in the shelters,
They did not talk to evicted parents,
They did not talk to sick parents without healthcare,
They did not talk to any mothers working 3 part-time jobs parents.

Who did they talk to?
They talked to no parent,
They did not talk to Yetta M. Goodman’s Ghetto Ph.D.,
The expert who was once homeless,
The expert who knew hunger,
The expert who worked with Sister Antonelle Chunka to turned gang teenagers away from gang life.

No, they did not talk to anyone who said, " This nation has a heart problem.
We need a war on poverty, 
Not a war on:
The Poor,
Our nation’s teachers, 
Our poorest schools, 
Families living in Trauma, and 
Not our communities of color.
We need a war on GREED! 

Just calling it like it is,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Badass Truth Telling Teacher 

If you like to listen to this Walking Man talk about how poverty matters: > <      

Uniting to Save Our Schools have never stopped fighting 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Our Public Schools 3-5 Years until total collapse

For the past three years, I have been engaged in Teacher Shortage Conversations with Researchers, Teacher Educators and Classroom Teachers across the country. This not no one wants to: Teach anymore, Not teachers fleeing, Not burnt out, Not demoralization, This is the most Significant Mental Health Crisis in the history of education. Teaching is the profession that makes all other professions possible. Our Public School Teachers are in a Mental Health Crisis, and our policymakers, legislators, administrators, and the public have no clue. We are 3-5 years away from a total collapse of our public school system. Connecticut Education Association (CEA) survey said 75% of their teachers plan on retiring early or leaving the profession. > <
I hear legislators and school districts across the nation saying we can't afford to pay more, increase health benefits, pay off student loans, and reduce class sizes. All we can do is add more on their backs. Just look at the Portland Teachers Strike. Guess what? While lesgilsators and policymakers don't get it, students do, and they are coming out to support Portland Teachers. <
Everyone expert knows; that we don't have enough new teachers in the pipeline to take us out of this crisis. If you have sometime, consider listening to my 103.5 FM New Haven Gust Host Tom Ficklin Show with Dr. Cynthia McDermott from the the Progressive Teacher Netwrok discuss this teacher mental health crisis.  Link the show: > < 
Get ready Aemerica for classes of 50-100 students, and a massive return to COVID Online Learning,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Badass Teacher Just in case you live in Connecticut and want to come join the wave to protect and transform our public schools November 18, from 10-3. 140 Legion Ave, New Haven, CT 06519 Teachers are not going down with a fight!
140 Legion Ave New Haven CT 06519 11/18 10-3

In case you like to listen to the tune that inspire my morning walk it is the cover of Bob Marley's 'Stand up" by Play for Change. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Want to attach and keep teachers? Then imagine fully funded schools


Something our nation's Policymakers, Ed Reformers, CEOs, and Governors can't imagine, are schools and teachers with all the resources they need to be successful. They will spend billions on new testing, standards, curriculum in boxes, and Chrome books, but not on libraries, counselors, play, art, music, and smaller class sizes for poor children. Imagine how many teachers would want to teach and stay in these schools. Trust me, we would see an end to this teacher shortage crisis. If they really cared about ending this teacher shortage crisis they should start by listening to veteran teachers. The link below is to a Guest Host Tom Ficlin 103.5 FM radio show where I engage veteran teachers in a real discussion about what would keep teachers from leaving our schools. Real solutions require real-time discussions. I have done 25 radio shows about real educators talking about real issues. Here is one of my recent ones on the teacher shortage crisis.

Just in case you like to listen to the tune that inspired my walk in the rain today...its the Crosby, Stills and Nash Classic " Teach your children" > <

Higher Order Thinking Requires Art, Music, Movement.

 Salutations readers, today I am sharing something outside my Blogger box.

I wear many hats, Literacy Center Director, Professor of Literacy, serve on various national boards, and committees, and Activist for less testing more teaching, and equity in our public schools. I am a Member of Moral Mondays CT and a proud union member. I also have been doing a once-a-month educators talking radio show for the Tom Ficklin Radio Show 103.5 FM New Haven. It is Facebook-lived as well, so you can see the Walking Man and his guest talking education. 

Yesterday my radio show focused on three educators and authors who work with Connecticut Public Schools to bring art, music, movement, and puppetry to classrooms. We called the show "The Three Musketeers of Fun". We have a powerful and joyful conversation about how art, music, and movement are the first therapies for Trauma. Wealthy children get plenty of all of these in their schools, but children in poor schools receive much much less. This means those children most likely to suffer from Trauma are not getting those essential therapies.   Sir Ken Robinson said: “Teaching is a creative profession.”"Teachers are mentors, they are there to stimulate, provoke, engage, and facilitate learning. But because of the amount of standardized tests that have been mandated by our government, teachers — rather than excite curiosity — are having to be compliant. “One role of education is to awaken and develop creativity. Instead, we have a culture of standardization.” 

The Three Musketeers of Fun: Bringing art, music, and movement back to learning. Big secret we call this "Hot Cognition": when learning is connected to fun, it says with learners long-term. Public School Principals and school districts, this is how we do fun. In therapy Art, Music, and Movement are healers for children and adults suffering trauma. Listen up, these three are telling us something important. 

Here is the link to my The Three Musketeers of Fun 103.5 FM New Haven Radio Show <


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Teachers are Transformative Peacemakers

In a world torn by war, violence, and hate, teachers bring hope for peace.

CCSU Future Teachers coming to celebrate Hispanic Heriatge at Chamberlain Elementary School
CCSU Future Teachers Celebrating Hispanic Heritage preparing to read to Chamberlain Elementary Children in English and Spanish. 

Amid war,
In the depths of violence,
In the valley of grief,
When every news cycle is war,
When innocents are murdered,
When hate consumes our world.
I think of Mahatma Gandhi saying:
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”

When hate becomes too heavy,
I think of teachers,
I think of educators,
Not teaching simple ABCs,
Not teaching 3 times 3 is nine,
Not teaching declarative sentence begins with a capital letter, and end in a period,
I think of those bigger things,
The big things like,
Respect for others,
Saying thank you and your welcome,
Opening the door for another,
For taking turns,
Reading books about all of us,
But most of all I think about educators doing the work,
Celebrating all,
These are the peacemakers,
The real deal transformers.

I look around this Literacy Center that brings teachers, educators, children, and parents,
I find Hope in the ABCs of this place, and these transformers,
Who came here,
Like these Newington administrators and teachers, who are doing the peace work of diversity, inclusion, and equity in their schools, DIE builds respect for all of us,
I know peacemakers when I see them. 

The time for peace is now,
The time to end this eye for an eye-blinding is today.

This Peace is built in classrooms around the world,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director
Newington Public Schools Diversity University at CCSU
NPS Administrators/Teachers doing the work that matters. 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk this day? It is Marvin Gaye's Mercy. Mercy Me > <

Friday, October 6, 2023

It's a Climb: Future Teachers need GOOD BONES

Teachers, this day more than ever, need good bones

Maggie Smith's Poem “Good Bones”

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways,
I’ll keep from my children.

The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird, there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world,
is at least half terrible, and for every kind,
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. 

I am trying to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
You could make this place beautiful.

Dear Sister and Brother Teachers, there is a great need for us out there today ~ we have to help our future teachers see the "Good Bones" in Teaching.  My future teachers (currently in their field experiences) are sharing your tragic narratives in their journals.  Let's be transparent, without  a doubt ~ these are tough days! These are cry your heart out days!  But in between,  there are also these few blessed beautiful days; and so on behalf of my students, I'm begging that you be truthful/honest, but please don't forget to share your good teaching days. These brave new young ones, need (and want) to know the truth, but share your whole truth with them ~ remember the times when you too were filled with amazement. 

Remember it is not our place to "Rain on their Parade".  These (negative) narratives will ensure our present tragic teaching shortage will continue tenfold.   Being consistently negative does not serve our future teachers well.  Just like us ~ they need balance.  No, indeed it is not the job it was in our day, but these young ones "want" to step up and walk in "our shoes".  We do not need to turn them away. 

They deserve (in realtor terms...) to hear about "The Good Bones" of teaching, even when the roof leaks, and the boiler is on its last legs. A good realtor will relay the "good bones".  Working with Good Bones, our new future teachers can build it anew!  I'm not going to  "Rain on your parade".   Way back in the late 70's my field experience teachers and host teachers showed the good bones of teaching to me.  They left me with a feeling that “You could make this place beautiful.” 

Respectfully, after 40 plus years, I still see GOOD BONES,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Badass Teacher
Good Bones Educator
Uniting to Save Our Schools 

On the left is West Michigan State Univerity Good Bonres Brother Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my writing this Good Bones Morning, it is 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Tiny changes, change everything

 When I was at my darkest moment as a child, homeless, cold, and hungry. I said Momma this world stinks...

She said it can change, at 11 years old an angry cynical me...said no one can change the world....

Momma said if we can't change the world, then maybe we can change a small piece of it. Then she brought us three that moment my world changed, the anger broke, and the cynic in me died. 

What I did not know, was the donut money she used was her bus fare for work...she would walk 5 miles the next morning to work. 

Son, I wish I could change the world. Momma taught me, that changing the world starts with changing a tiny piece of it first. It begins with you and me. 

Tomorrow, my LLA 440 Pre-Service Teachers and are traveling to Chamberlain Elementary School in New Britain Connecticut to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage. These are the shirts our Center for Community Engagement and Social Research gave us, along with 1350 dollars for books for our teachers and Chamberlain's new library.

It is a win-win for all, my pre-service teachers get to combine Culturally Relevant Teaching, Literacy, and Service. Chamberlain children get to hear cool stories and Hispanic Heritage. They have mixed some about stories about horic heroes, and others about fun and love in Hispanic families. Everybody wins, and I get to change a tiny piece of the world in honor of my mother.

James Baldwin said about writing and literature:  “You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world... The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”  This is why Literacy Professors write.

One Mother's sacrifice and one donut change my world, I pay it back every day 

One tiny change at a time changes everything,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 

Central Literacy Center Director 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my blog this afternoon its Big Sean - "One Man Can Change The World" ft. Kanye West, John Legend

A New Moon Shot Equity in 10


In 2010, I walked 400 miles from Connecticut to DC, because high stakes testing abuse was killing the joy and creativity in our public schools. In 2015, I walked it because high states testing and inequity were turning our public schools for Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children into a School to Prison Pipeline. 

After my September radio show, my guests, and I shared a dream. In 2024, I propose state walks for equity, and equity report cards for legislators. This April 4, 2024, on the anniversary of Dr. King’s Assignation A small group of believers in change shall walk 12 miles from CCSU the first school of education in Connecticut to Hartford our state Capitol. What if small groups in all 50 states did the same. 

What if we issue equity report cards that failed this School to Prison Pipeline, gave states 10 years to make it right, came back each year with updated report cards. John F. Kennedy said we will put a man on the moon by the end of a decade, and we did. 

I am proposing a new moon shoot, a moral challenge to end 170-plus years of inequity and injustice in our schools. change it not a title wave, it is a cracking that brings the whole house down. Dare, we dream a new brave world...

We are the small cracks rejecting the silence and apathy of an immoral School-to-Prison Pipeline status quo,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Uniting to Save Our Schools
Still True Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired me this morning at sunrise, its the cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash's Teacher Your Children by Play for Change.

And if you are bored, and want to listen to the radio show that spark this moon shot.. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

How does America demonstrate our love of children color in our schools?


Maya Angelou said: “If you're for the right thing, you do it without thinking.” 
(I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)

No matter what you hear, Literacy is complicated, it includes essential skills, but so much more. 
At our Central Literacy Center, we meet children where they are, follow the data, and work hard to create a deep sense of caring. 

Every child receives one-to-one tutoring from a fully certified teacher here. Our children come from different school districts, some can have this level of support at their local public schools, but most attend schools that lack the funds to do this. Caring requires funding and resources. 
What is not complex is that Wealthy predominantly white schools have the necessary funding and renounces needed, and children attending schools in communities of color seldom have the funds or resources needed. 

We can't blame poor school districts or their teachers. We can blame America the richest nation in the world whose school funding formula supports inequality. Our children's learning conditions are their teacher's working conditions. We cannot blame children, families, or teachers who attend or work in underfunded and under-resourced schools. 

Nel Noddings: American feminist, educationalist, and philosopher best known for her work in the philosophy of education said: “My contention is, first, that we should want more from our educational efforts than adequate academic achievement and, second, that we will not achieve even that meager success unless our children believe that they themselves are cared for and learn to care for others. What is an America that spends roughly 23 billion dollars every year on predominately wealthy white schools than on poor schools in communities of color? It certainly isn’t that we care for all America's children! 

I know why caged birds sing,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
Central Literacy Center Director

If you like to listen to what inspired me it is TRUTH. link for a clip of me talking about inequity in our schools on Brainwaves Anthologies on YouTube I am tired of reading wars that imagine that inequality, systemic racism, and lack of funding does not matter.
> <

I am the broken record of truth in our public schools 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

I choose to not get on your Ed Reform Merry Go Round

When education reformers, policymakers, and Wall Street say choice, read between the lines. For they have already made a choice. To place profits before our children. 

The Merry-Go-Round of school reform money tree shouts:

New tests, 
Charter Schools,
Magnet Schools,
State takeovers,
Google classrooms,
Chrome books,
Drive-by-teacher alternative programs,
New Rigorous Standards, 
New Fail Proof Curriculums.

Blame everyone,
Except those making hundreds of billions of dollars running the Merry-Go-Round.

Look everywhere but at those making profits, giving campaign contributions, and sweet jobs to family and political allies,
They love the teacher blamers,
Children are falling because teachers didn’t teach them right,
Don’t worry parents for a few billion we can fix it. 

Time to Look behind that great OZ Curtain,
Where we discover rich white kids always get more,
Black, Brown, Poor, and Special children get less.
Much, much, much less,
23 Billion dollars every year.

Now these Ed Refromers want teachers to take sides in their reading wars.
I can hear that cash register of a status quo ringing,
A school-to-prison pipeline that profits from 5 until death.

How about we do something different?
Children, Teachers, and Parents shout ENOUGH,

I have an idea, and it won't cost a penny more.
We can take that 23 Billion Dollars extra spent annually on Wealthy Predominately White Schools, and spend it on our children in our poor school districts. You know the children who America has given less to for over 170 years.

It's time to close their merry-go-round down.

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my blog today its Adrea Day's "Rise Up" > <

Friday, September 22, 2023

Teaching is my calling, and so is my activism


As an academic, my articles and chapters are seldom read. As an activist, my blog reaches thousands every month. My activist message is simple, all I ever wanted to do is teach, but injustice got in my way. 

I find myself fighting inequity and injustice in our public schools has become my main focus. This is something I never imagined when I first entered into the profession. I naively thought research mattered more than my activism. 

Thankfully, I was an activist before I became a teacher. It is this endless activist well that enables me to teach these days. Words are not enough to win this battle, but they do help.

I am an Old School Teacher,

I teach,

I march,

I stand up,       

I speak up,

I put my body on the picket line,

I turn up,

I reject apathy and silence,

I stand up for the rights of all in and out of my classroom,

I am inspired by the thousands who read,

I am Dr. Jesse P. Turner the Walking Man

Uniting to Save Our Schools

Can't be silenced Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the song that inspires my blog this morning at 5:am its John Legend's "Preach" > <

Thursday, September 21, 2023

I know why they call it the school to prison pipeline

 I know why they call it the school-to-prison pipeline.

One of the hardest realities as Director of our Central Literacy Center is seeing the vast inequality of specialized services children receive. Children from affluent predominately white school districts have an abundance of specialized Tier 3, (one-to-one) support services. These children are easy to help, and often just need an extra push. In our center, every struggling receives the same level of support, one-on-one with a certified teacher twice a week. Equity is real here. Children come from surrounding communities, some from poor ones, and others from wealthy ones. No one pays anything, actually, our teachers pay 6000 dollars to complete their final 6 credits for their advance degree to become a Literacy Specialist. They provide services equivalent to 6000 dollars free to two children for 15 weeks. That equity is not the reality for Connecticut Public Schools.

Now, our children from poor predominately communities of color wait years for specialized services, and seldom if ever get those desperately needing one-to-one services. This places them far behind their peers. This is heartbreaking, unfair, and a direct result of inequality and not fully funding our public schools.

This is not acceptable, spending 23 billion dollars more On wealthy predominately white schools every year is immoral.

Enough is enough education reform mumble jumbo from policymakers and legislators, it is these vast inequities that are holding our children in communities of color back. This fault cannot be placed upon our teachers or our poor school districts.

Let me call out whose feet this blame can be placed on, a state that refuses to take responsibility for a school funding formula that fails any equity smell test. I call this out as blatant RACISM. Vast inequality in the richest state in the union is morally UNACCEPTABLE. Trust me this is not just Connecticut, this is all 50 states. How many years must past before Black, Brown, Poor and Special Education Children are given an equal chance? The answer is blowing in the wind.

I reject silence and indifference,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Central Literacy Center Director If you like to listen to the tune that inspired today's blog...its the cover of "Blowing in the Wind' by Peter, Paul and Mary. > <