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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.