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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..