Search This Blog

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. > <

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Hispanic Heritage is for everyone


Hispanic Heritage is for everyone
Mrs. Sanchez my Spanish teacher is high school brought the life of Cesar Chavez to us. She taught Spanish, but the world was her textbook. While we were learning our Spanish, we were also learning about great contributions to art, literature, science, Human Rights, and music. she connected the dots of human rights across all the continents. She wanted us to see the beauty of language and of the people who speak it. Some of the cool kids thought she was corny, me I knew better, she was amazing. I was blessed with incredible teachers across all subject areas. 

I knew "Sí se puede", before President Obama ran for office, and so did he. Cesar, taught President Obama and Dr. Turner, that peaceful action can breakdown walls of injustice; Yes, it can be done.

Our teachers taught us about Cesar Chavez. I learned that in 1966 he walked with strikers on a 340-mile march from Delano to Sacramento to bring awareness to the cause of farmworkers. They taught about every Civil Rights activist that ever lived, the made sure we saw the connections between standing up for right and education. It was never about a job; it was always much bigger.

So, decades later in 2010, influenced by Cesar Chavez's walk, I decided to walk 400 miles from Connecticut to Washington DC to bring awareness to abusive high-stakes testing in our public schools. In 2015, I would walk it again protesting high-stakes testing and inequality in our public schools. 

Our teachers taught us about Civil Rights Activists like Cesar Chavez hoping those stories would inspire our own stories. They taught us there is no American History without, Hispanic Heritage, Black History, Women's History, Immigrations and Labor. America's story is all our stories. American History is all our stories, and everyday all our stories are relevant. 

Guess what teachers teaching students about Civil Right? 
Works,                                                                                                                                                            Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Central Literacy Center Director

Just in case you like to listen to the song that moved me today...its Barry Lane's Jesse Turner is a walking man trip down memory lane 2015 400 miles to DC

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Teachers know where the gold is!


It is important to follow the data. However, there is the data that matters, and there is the data that really matters. The data that policymakers, administrators, and the media consider important is important. However, the data that really matters comes from teachers who spend 5 days a week in the presence of the children they teach. There are only so many hours in a school day. So much is demanded of teachers that does not fit within the school day. This is one of the reasons we are losing young teachers. Too much to do with not enough time to do it. 

Policymakers and education reformers have our teachers using expensive and time-consuming online data collecting tools. Our teachers are chasing data, they already know. When people ask me who knows a child best. I always say the people closest to them, their parents, and teachers. 

Rather than have our teachers following their authentic real time observational data and intuitive understandings of the children they teach. We force them to engage in time consuming repetitious data, that has them second guessing what they already know. 

From my work with classroom teachers, this online data consumes 10 to 15 hours a week. 10 to 15 hours that use to be spent on finding ways to motivate learners. and with the demands of teaching today. We are losing experienced and new teachers because they are not given the time to act on the data that really matters. 

Teachers not only see the numbers, but they also see the child, they have essential knowledge about what motivates the children they teach. What teachers know often takes a back seat to the data policymakers value. I say the data that matters most is the real time observational data teachers have. The data the system often causing them to doubt. Or, feeling as if their voice does not matter. This feeling of doubt and being voiceless is in my opinion the number one reason we are losing experienced teachers today.

Those 10-15 hours of online data chasing prevents teachers from acting in real time on that rich Kid Watching Data that Dr. Yetta Goodman told me 30 years is a learning goldmine.

Teachers know where the gold is,                                                                                                               Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                      CCSU Literacy Center Director

If you like to see what inspired my blog today...its Barry Lane's What's Happening in our schools >

In case you want more Chuck Barry's "School Days" reminds me of > <

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Feel Spanish Language in your heart and feet

I teach future and current teachers in Connecticut. During our first Disciplinary Literacy Class last week; I asked students to share their best and worst teachers. I shared Mr. Bass, when I was broken and homeless, he fed me lunch, and made sure I had a winter coat and gloves. He brought me back to the world of the living via his humanity. Teachers do these things every day.

This course is taken just before our Pre-Service teachers do the Student-Teaching. This semester I have Spanish, History, Teach Education, and English teachers. The sharing is about sharing the character traits of good teaching. For some strange reason, many students came down on their former Spanish teachers this day. On Wednesday, my plan is to share two teachers, one is Father Fitzgerald, (Parish Priest) and Mrs. Sanchez my favorite Spanish Teacher. Father Fitzgerald story is about some of our best teachers don’t teach in a classroom, but outside the schoolhouse. Mrs. Sanchez is about a language teacher who knew before you learn a language you have to feel it in your heart. 

Mrs. Sanchez, open her class with Las niñas y los niños sienten español en sus corazones: [girls and boys, we feel Spanish in our heart not our head]. My oral Spanish speaking skills were lacking. I did well on homework assignments, quizzes, and tests, but my Spanish speaking skills were as broken as it gets. Mrs. Sanchez, said don’t worry about how you say it Jesse, your work shows me you can read and write Spanish. She had a way of helping us accept our limitations, and helping us see our strengths. I aced her classes, and learn to dance and feel Spanish in my heart. Mrs. Sanchez would end class with “Todos levántense, sientan español en el corazón y en los pies, es hora de bailar” [Everybody up, and feel Spanish in your heart and feet. It is time to dance]. She, place a record her record player, either some Falmenco, Mambo, Conga, or Salsa, and we flet Spanish in our feet and heart. 

Mrs. Sánchez, put Spanish in my heart and feet. She taught with her love of Spanish, and her students. Like, Mr. Bass, Father Fitz, and Mrs. Sánchez they did more to prepare me to be a teacher; then many of the research studies at the university. Time to remind these soon to be teachers, it is less about what we teach, and more about how we teach. Can't wait to see my Spanish teachers smile tomorrow. Humanity is every teacher's super power. Great teachers lead with humanity every day. 

This one is for you Mrs. Sánchez, and all you wonderful feel it in your heart Spanish Teachers.

Gracias,                                                   Dr. Jesse P. Turner                   
Literacy Profesora, 

If you like to dance to the tune that inspire my blog today...its Fania All Stars ft Oscar D'Leon, Milly Quezada, El Canario and others yo Soy La Salsa  > < 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Teacher Shortage Crisis: You can't fill a pail with holes in the bottom with water

A 3 minute clip about this teacher shortage crisis. 

I am at our CCSU Literacy Center, researching and preparing for tomorrow's 103.5 FM Tom Ficklin New Haven radio show, 98/17/23). This is a continued conversation on the Teacher Shortage Crisis. This will be a conversation with great teachers with decades of experience who are passionately concerned about the future of their profession and public schools. Education is a field where policymakers, Education Reformers, and legislators seldom turn to teachers, parents, and children for answers. In my opinion this is the major weakness that has driven 40 plus years of failed education reforms in America. 

What exactly is a Teacher Shortage Crisis? In simple economic term is it an issue of Supply and Demand. Supply is the amount of a specific goods or services available in the market. Demand is the amount of the goods or services available. Teaching is not goods; teaching is a service. Teacher salary fact: "The average weekly wages of public-school teachers, adjusted for inflation, increased just $29 from 1996 to 2021 — from $1,319 up to $1,348. Teachers have consistently earned less than their non-teacher, college-educated counterparts, and that wage penalty was found in all 50 states and Washington, D.C." Teachers today make less than teachers in 1996" ( However money alone is not the sole issue. 

While teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than at any other time in history, Policymakers, Ed Reformers, and Legislators are mainly focus on growing new teachers. The problem we are having with these efforts, is they have not engaged in serious conversations with potential future teachers. The problem with this approach is in the 1970's nearly 1 in 5 college students wanted to become teachers, today that number is down to 4%. 

Now consider this during COVID 300000 teachers left teaching. Filling that gap with 4% would take decades to fill. We simply can’t grow enough quickly enough to end this shortage. We must find ways to keep the current teachers in our classrooms as well. 

There are many reasons young people are choosing not to become teachers, declining pay is just one of them. I The veteran teachers on my show tomorrow believe the answer must involve stemming the exit from teaching. They believe finding ways to entice teachers to stay will help grow new teachers. Our future teachers are front row eye witnesses to teachers who are not only underpaid, but disrespected on numerous levels. They come to our universities with 13 years of witnessing how their teachers were treated. Trust me, they come fully knowing the struggles teachers face. 

Returning to Supply and Demand you can’t build supply while you are suffering massive pillages. My analogy is the current teacher shortage solutions are focused on one end of the supply chain. Think about trying to fill a pail with water with holes in the bottom. Addressing this teacher shortage crisis requires fixing the holes first.

Hope you join us 8/18.23 at 11:AM EST on 103.5 FM New Haven,  > <

Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                  Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center Director 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire this post, its the Beatles Fixing A Hole > <

just in case you want to watch the radio show with teachers talking about how to keep the teachers we already have. Link

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

JUST SAYING Teacher Appreciation Week


How about we do something different this Teacher Appreciation Week?

1. Sates stop requiring advanced degrees you do not pay for,

2. A real pay increase above inflation for a change,

3. Stop reducing our pensions and medical benefits,

4. OMG, stop wasting nearly 2 billion dollars every year on standardized test that have no real instructional value,

5. Stop trying to speed learning up; it doesn't work,

6. Try respecting our professional knowledge,

7. Stop pushing school choice scams without equity,

8. Stop passing laws to ban the three things that motivate learning, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity,

9. Almost anything more than; thank you teacher stickers and donuts,

10. Just let us teach!

If you want to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk today? It is Barry Lane's. +If  I'd never had a teacher" 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

BADASS TEACHER ALERT: CT Professor Labor DAY Walk for School Equity


I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago
Through the mud and the beer, and the blood and the cheers, I've seen champions come and go
A week to for year 25, 50 semesters of speaking truth to power in my classroom and outside as well. At 67, I feel like 27, and like Ali still standing in the 15th round, still got plenty of fight to go.
Just in case you missed it, I'm Jersey Born, and I ain't no wrecking ball going to put me down.
"So if you got the guts mister, yeah, if you got the balls
If you think it's your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you got
Bring on your wrecking ball
Now my home's here in these meadowlands where mosquitoes grow big as airplanes
Here where the blood is spilled, the arena's filled, and giants played their games
So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call"
I'm Jersey born, a Ferris Bulldog, and ain't no Ed Reform scammers going to knock me down.
You see I have the years, I could step down, but Damn I do love a good fight. I feel another Equity Walk growing in these bones, 12 miles from CCSU to the Capital. It is going to be a LABOR DAY event. I won't be going to the beach, I won't be dinning out, I be Like Martin Luther with his 95 Theses.
I am going to hang a 95 Theses for Equity 4 All on that Supreme Court of shame that ruled in 2018 that Connecticut is not responsible for an equal and high quality education for all...
I need walkers to join me,
I am calling out to every CT BADASS Teacher to meet me at the capital,
Call your union leaders,
Call our Civil Rights Leaders,
Call our Parents and children denied an equitable and fair public education.
Dr. Jesse P. Turner is Jesse The Walking Man.
Did those justices, ed reform scammers, really believe we would go quietly into that good night?
Bring on your Wrecking ball,
Jesse P. Turner

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk, it Bruce Springteen's Wrecking Ball.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

The sham of America: School Choice without Equity Monsters


"People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster." ~James Baldwin

Dear Policymakers and Legislators, we see your cowardice. 

You dance and sing those old minstrel lies:

Testing will save Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor  children,

Charter schools will save them,

Magnet Schools will save them,

School Choice will save them,

Teach for America will save them.

Schools for profit will save them.

The song you dare not sing is about quality and equality for all children.

This tune would make you moral heroes to all; you run from, hide from, and dare not imagine it. 

Justice is too costly in your world.

But, our nation's dreamer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke from his Birmingham prison cell in 

"Justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Heroes speak the truth; they never run from it or deny it.

We see you.

You can't do equity, 

Your minstrel dance of lies, 

Reveal your lies, and they damn you.

They expose your cowardice,

They show us, 

Monsters of injustice.

We see you,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 

Uniting to Save Our Schools

Badass Teacher,

If you like to hear the tune that inspired my walk this morning? It is Pete Seeger's version of We Shall Over Come

Academics not only have to write, and speak about justice, we must TURN UP for JUSTICE! 

Bishop John Selders is an academic who TURN UP! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

History Equals The Game Plan Against Hate


Maya Angelou said: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Reading between the lines of these Florida and Texas Governors who want to ban books and factual history. It is not about Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, or CRT; it is TRUTH they fear. 

What frightens the hell out of them; is the actual historical truth. History is the game plan showing how racist attempts to suppress Black, Brown, Women, and LGBTQ Americans always fail in the end. 

They are not afraid of their children feeling bad; they don't want children to see how miserably hate has failed time and time again.

Case in point, the Georgia State Legislature denied Civil Rights Activist Julian Bond his seat three times. He took it to the highest court in the land.  Georgia lost in the Supreme Court. History gives people a game plan against hate. These book and history haters fear truth more than anything else. Why attack history? They lack the courage to face actual history. They do not want you to see the game plan to defeat them. 

History is the game plan against hate,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 

Uniting to Save Our Schools

Badass Teacher

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk today, it is Roots cover of
Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" from The Soundtrack For A Revolution. 

PS History is the game plan, read it, learn it, and use it. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Doing their best to kill the joy


A bit of Jackson Brown's Great Pretender lives in me. I wake up some days a bit lost, but then I find my dreams in the smiling faces of those children and teachers I work with.. My fellow teachers and our CCSU Literacy Teachers are path finders. 

When I was a young university student, Dr. Jerry Weiss asked us to consider stories from different points of view. He said what if you read To Kill a Mockingbird from the point of view of a Black Person, Hispanic Person, LGBT person, Immigrant, White person, a person of faith, and a person of no faith. What happened in that in class that day became one of my deepest most sincere learning experiences. Readers bring their life experiences to the text they read, and those experiences lead to multiple meanings. I would learn later on about Louise Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory which took it to the next level. 

Well, teaching that novels have different points of view leads right into Rudine Sims Bishop's Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors. Teachers have learning experiences that shape them; they are fed not by Common Core State Standards, but by theory. Research shapes us. 

Our work is hard, and our nation's policymakers and legislators are working around the clock to make it harder. They don't care much for research; they prefer counting numbers. Professionally my view is a public school system that often tries to break teachers. It is around the concept of breaking teachers that I begin to feel lost, a great pretender. I then remember research guides me in the right direction, not test scores or policymakers. I remember teachers can make learning joyful. Then I put on my Mr. Icredible outfit, and say Does anyone feel like winning a gold medal today. 

Then I remember these teachers and children needed me to rise above the noise. When I do that, I find my teaching soul. With teachers it is never about us; it is about those we teach. 

For 40 years the ones I teach have always brought me back to my teaching dream. That dream that said I will be a teacher who makes a difference. Teaching is difficult, and the system appears to be making it harder, but those faces in front of me make it worth every day for 40 years. 

I am the Great Pretender renewing my dream,

Dr. Jesse P. Turner 

CCSU Literacy Center Director 

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk it is Jackson Brown's The Great Pretender. > <

Monday, March 20, 2023

Is there a test for the love of reading?


A great deal of what happens around teaching children to read in our public schools is based on test scores. 

The assessments used are Norm Reference and Criteria Reference Assessments, which in order to be standardized must demonstrate large failures. If they can’t do that, then the assessment becomes invalid. We should not surprise that the conversations always revolve around large academic failures. Norm Reference Assessments must show 50% falling below the mean. Criteria Reference Assessments are Mastery Based requiring 75-80& correct responses. They are created to show large failure, and this is also why there is a never-ending Reading war. Regardless of the reform failure is guaranteed. They are informative, and can help us see how schools are doing nationally, and how they measure up using a performance-based measure. They are however weak measures to judge how individual students are doing in their everyday school performance, and often contradict class grades and student Grade Point Averages. Failed to consider variables, such as poverty, race, linguistic competencies, or emotional or cognitive challenges. Basing education reform policies on this data is an invitation to an endless cycle of aggravated data pitfalls. Most of all they often lead to reforms that fail to engage children in learning to read in joyful and meaningful contexts. The result can be “Aliteracy” readers who can read but are uninterested in reading. > <

There are more relevant assessments, diagnostic ones with clear individualized instruction paths. Those rich data informal classroom-based assessments, the ones informing teachers here and now, where their students are. The results of those other high-stakes ones will generally come in during the next school year. They often offer little to no immediate benefit for children. 

It is no big secret that focusing on high-stakes assessments increases anxiety and always ends up turning learning to read into a chore. I will suggest focusing policies solely on Norm Reference and Criteria Reference Assessments is a dog chasing their own tail syndrome, that often fails to inspire teachers and a love of reading. They also almost always cut out the voices of those closest to those learning to read, teachers, parents, and students. 

If our public schools want to develop generations of readers who love to read, they might consider rethinking our 100-year love affair with standardized testing.

Just Saying,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner 
CCSU Literacy Center Director

Dr. Turner, show us the joy

Show us the joy, Dr. Turner! 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk it is Three Dog Night's Joy to The world > <

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Push back against Diverse Books, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity is an attempt to create passive citizens


Isn’t the push back against diverse books, diversity, equity, and inclusion another dog whistle attempts to create passive citizens. Citizens easy to rule, easy to maculate, and easy to stir up.

The Pan-African activist, journalist and entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey, wrote “a people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” Trees that are not firmly rooted in rich, fertile soil do not grow, do not bear fruit, they cannot withstand strong wind, or bear heavy loads. 

If you wonder how a White Teacher from Jersey City knows about the life of Marcus Garvey? It is because, I had old schoolteachers who refused to confined by the dog whistle blowing status quo Florida Governor. 
Ain't no Governor going to turn me around,                                                                                                  Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                              Initing to Save Our Schools
Badass Teacher 

If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk today its Ain't going to let no one one turn me around. > <


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Dear Governor DeSantis, you can't study Women's History without studying Sexism and Race.


Imagine if Governors, Think Tanks, and Politicians, just let teachers teach.

We have these Read-A-Thons at our CCSU Literacy Center. We read, we ware our pajamas, eat tons of popcorn, are not allowed to sit on chairs. We take Gold Medal Reading Challenges, where we earn Gold Medals for reading and sharing what we are learning. We have them every month. Don't tell the children, but are pushers of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) and choice. Don't tell any policymakers either, they have a hard time with the idea of choice and SSR. 

The above image to the untrained eye, may look like children having fun dropping parachutes off the balcony in our Henry Bernard Annex right outside our CCSU Literacy Center. Some find it difficult to see how parachutes fit into administrative SROs (Strategic Learning Objectives). We did not count words read correctly last night, there was no test, we were having too much fun reading. But, trust mw everyone was learning some very important lessons about real life. 

As in Hamlet “there is a method in my madness”. Everything we do in our Literacy has purpose and reason just beyond reading. March is Women's History Month, we are discovering role models of nobility, integrity, and honor in the lives of famous women in history. Our girls are seeing possibilities of their own futures, our young boys are learning to value and respect the lives of women. Of course we are building a love of reading and reading stamina. Again, don't tell the policy makers or legislators, because they sometimes struggle with the idea that free reading improves reading. At least they always leave it off their PowerPoint Presentations at PDs. Sometimes I wonder if they understand that the readers who love to read do better on those high-stakes assessments they love. It is just to hard to put love of reading into their SLOs. Why how we you test it? You could observe it of course, but that would qualitative data, Every Policymaker knows that qualitative data can't be measured on standardized test, or their PowerPoints.

Back to our Read-A-Thon, we started reading about great women in aviation in the fall, (you don’t have to wait for women's history month to learn about famous women. We have continue learning about women all year long. We read about Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Hazel Ying Lee, and Olga Custodio female aviators who broke new glass ceilings. We are not done yet; we discover others every day. American History is everyone’s story, and we celebrate all stories.   

The fact we were studying female aviators, might be might call this being WOKE Education to some people. I just call it good teaching. Now, Governor Ron DeSantis probably disapproves because each of these women had to overcome obstacles of sexism and racism, that sounds like being WOKE. Word is the Governor thinks that kind of learning might upset some children. After decades of teaching, I find learning about how people overcame sexism and racism motivates and lifts them. Children like the idea of people breaking barriers. 

Back to the parachutes, there is a learning theory called; "Hot cognition" a hypothesis on motivated reasoning in which a person's thinking is influenced by their emotional state." What we learn during positive emotional learning, stays with learners. The parachutes are just a door to build healthy respect for each other. I wager 20 years from now our children will remember Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Hazel Ying Lee, and Olga Custodio. BIG HINT Governor DeSantis, you can study Women's History without studying Sexism and Racism.  

I am an old schoolteacher unafraid of being WOKE,                                                                                   Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                     Uniting to Save Our Schools                                                                                                                         Badass Teacher  

Here is a link to some great books celebrating Women's History Month. >*F 

If you want to listen to the song that inspire my morning walk this morning its Sam Cook cover of Blowing in the wind"

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

WOKE TEACHER ALERT: Governors DeSantis, Abbott, and Huckabee Sanders warned America about!

Dear Cohort Students, 

When governors, Sara Huckabee Sanders, Greg Abbot, and Ron DeSantis speak about fearing a WOKE Movement. Teachers, parents and students should reflect on where the term WOKE comes from. It is not a new term. 

It has been around since 1938. The root of the term WOKE: "Woke is an adjective derived from African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) meaning "alert to racial prejudice and discrimination". In 1938, the term “Stay Woke” was used in a protest song by Blues musician Huddie Ledbetter; aka Lead Belly. "These are the Scottsboro Boys." 

Black History is American History, and nothing any governor can do will change that. 
If WOKE means being alert to racial prejudice, then perhaps those who fear WOKE in our schools and government are SLEEP People, people who are comfortable with racism, and can't stand anyone alerted to racism. 

I am an educator who thinks conversations in our public schools about RACE, Gender, Immigration, Violence, Drugs, Sexism, and historical truths is not indoctrination, but the pathways to improving the lives of our young people. I guess I am one of those teachers’ governors Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis and Sara Huckabee Sanders are fear.

Just in case you like to know more about the Scottsboro Boys, and are afraid of being WOKE is is a link to Wikipedia link

Dear Anti Woke Governors, when you bury the truth, all you have succeeded in doing is planting the seed of a WOKE Nation. 

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

If you want to listen to the tune I listen to this morning on my walk...its "Scottboro Boys" by Lead Belly. >

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Uniting to Save Our Schools Still Marching:Epic Broadcast 1/27/23

We are not beaten, 
We are not tired,
We are not demoralized.
We are Uniting to Save Our Schools,
On a mission to lift every child, parent, teacher, and public school.
Ain't no Ed Reform Privatizing fools going to turn us around.
We are on FIRE.  

Uniting to Save Our Schools: the fight to make our nation’s school equitable and fair is ongoing and worthy. We are in this struggle to make our public schools places where every child regardless of their Race, Zip Code, Immigration status, Income, or identity a quality and equal education. Schools where everyone’s stories are valued and celebrated. We are the WOKE educators Ron DeSantis fears. 

In 2002 the United States Department of Education launch a Trillion Dollar No Child Left Behind Education Reform Bill that promised every child would be reading, writing, and doing match at grade level by January 1, 2014. These reforms would focus on a massive increase in the used of High-Stakes Testing and placed the blame for failing test scores on teachers and curriculums. All you need to know is that promise failed, and that trillion dollars made testing companies and publishers that biggest profits they had seen in decades. The scientific-based curriculums of NCLB were massive failures, but extremely profitable. 


In 2009 Race to The Top became our nation’s new venture into education reform. Like NCLB it would focus deeply on Hight-Stakes Testing and forced our nation’s poorest public schools to compete for their survival. See: 

I want parents, teachers, legislators, and policymakers to know there were researchers, teachers, parents, teacher educators, and activists that fought back from day one of both NCLB and RTTT. We spoke up, wrote, presented at national and international conferences, and spoke out in communities across the nation. I know because I am one of them. By 2010, I grew tired of being ignored by policymakers, legislators, and school administrators. I decided to go back to my Civil Rights roots and do what activists have always done; I would use my feet. I would as Congress John L. Lewis said embark on a series of “Good Troubles”. See my letter to President Obama challenging RTTT policies: 

In 2010, I walked 400 miles to protest the abusive High-Stakes testing Policies of No Child Left Behind and Race to The Top. On that walk a powerful coalition of educators, researchers, parents and even students emerged that brought 12.000 scholars, activists, teachers and parents to Washington DC in 2011 to fight against abusive education policies that force poor local community schools to compete against each. Abusive policies that place the blame on local community schools, their teachers and parents. That coalition was Save Our Schools, and it spur many others to form coalitions to fight abusive testing and inequity in our public schools. The future leaders of United Opt Out, NPE, Badass Teachers, Karen Lewis brought a whole crew of Chicago Teachers Union members, Journey 4, Justice, and many others were in DC in 2011. We had conference, rally and march in 2011. All were successful, and attendees shared ideas and strategies to fight back against education reforms that hurt children, teachers, and community schools. I would meet the most incredible Social Justice Education Warriors in 2011, and those warriors would launch a resistance movement. For a quick three-minute look at this historic moment in 2011 see:  Even Matt Damon showed up. See: 

From 2011 to today, Uniting to Save Our Schools has not stop fighting, or as Congressman John L. Lewis said getting into “Good Troubles”. 

Tomorrow morning, I am gust hosting the Tom Ficklin 103.5 FM New Haven Radio. My Guests will be two of my favorite “Good Troubles” USOSers. Tune in to hear where the struggle has been, and where we are taking our “Good Troubles” to next. Of course you don’t need to wait for the show to join the struggle visit our Uniting to Save Our Schools webpage, and join this Good Trouble voyage to save our public schools. See:

I am a man on fire,                                                                                                                                         Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                    Uniting to Save Our Schools                                                                                                                    Badass Teacher                                                                                                                                        Fellow Good Troublemaker

If you like to hear the tune that inspire my morning walk its Roots cover of " Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around.