Walking to DC Jesse
Jesse The Walking Man Turner is walking from Connecticut to Washington DC this summer to protest the education malpractice that is demoralizing parents, teachers, and turning our children into human capital.
I'll start walking in June, time it to reach Washington DC for the BAT's National Congress July, (400 miles in 40 days)
I'll post my itinerary in February. I will hold Walking Man Events along the way in people's homes, libraries, coffee shops, churches, and on street corners, to gather evidence from parents, students, and teachers.
1. I am a Professor of literacy, I have a Ph.D in Language, Reading, and Culture. Everything I know professionally informs me what is happening to our children in the name of education reform is child abuse.
2. Because Moses walked, because the Cherokee Walked, because the Navajo walked, because Martin Walked, and because Cesar Chavez walked. Walking may just be the most potent weapon human beings have against oppression.
3. Because childhood matters.
4. Because children come first.
5.Becasue someone has to tell our nation's leaders our children, their teachers and local schools are more than test scores.
This is a grassroots campaign to connect the dots across states and bring awareness to the testing abuse that is demoralizing children and their teachers. My estimate is the walk will cost me 6000.00. I am willing contributing 3000 of my own money to my walk. My hope is to raise 3000 dollars the other half of the cost.
Some other quick news
I stayed in Yonkers for two nights walking each day taking in all the sights and smells only New York can bring, at the a hole in the wall hotel. Until Tuesday when I met up with The Big Bat himself Mr. Mark Naison in the Bronx, NY, and the C.A.S.A. Middle School students, the teachers, and their dynamic principal Jamaal Bowman. We were televised on Bronx News 12. I stayed for two nights at the home of Mark and Liz ~ thank-you so much you guys. Their home became my home away from home for two days. Finding parking in Brooklyn is not easy so I had to park in at a hospital near by (costs $44.00 a night) In Manhattan Save Our School March NY Information Coordinator Rosalie Friend took me on a walking tour from 155 street and Amsterdam Ave PS 28 to alternative Reynolds High School on 102 street where we were treated like heroes, given smoothies and time to rest and talk. Next stop was City Hall in New York where we held a press conference with City Council person and Education Committee Chair Danny Dromm taking on testing and the Common Core. Then it was on to Long Island at Hofstra for a “Teaching in the age of High Stakes Testing panel event.” I was even serenaded with a new Walking Man Anthem written for me by Barry Finch from Danbury Connecticut. I met up with Dr. Goodman (and her Hofstra cronies). I was invited to stay in the wonderful home of Dr. Louise Shaw and her husband Robert on Thursday ~ where they graciously provided me with all the comforts of home and of course much needed laundry facilities☺
On June 26 I arrived in Jersey City, NJ where I took a one day break from my walking, met up with some family and friends and am getting ready to head out to Newark tomorrow for an incredible Teach-In in Newark at the New Jersey TV News Community Room. Three nights at hotels in Jersey City and Newark ~ thank-God for Go Fund Me. The week ahead in New Jersey is long and looming. After the Newark event it on to Trenton NJ where I will meet up with Deacon Michael Collins and Trenton’s Talitakumi Youth Group at St. Joseph Church. I will be the guest of Deacon’s wife and family.
Finally spending three days at the home of a family who hosted me on my 2010 walk to DC as well. I stayed an additional two days in a motel as I completed the last 20 miles of New Jersey through Camden to the Ben Franklin Bridge.
On July 7 30 amazingly beautiful parents, students, activists, and teachers in Camden met me. Where we marched crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge together to the People’s Mall for a high-stakes testing protest with Independence Hall right behind us. You are going to have to read about the students who empty their hearts out on that public stage in my Walking Man Blog, (working on those tonight); three Philadelphia Newspapers and Talk radio covered our protest at the People’s Mall. I found myself holding back tears all morning long as students, parents, and teachers told their stories. The power of their truths will carry me all the way to DC. Than we were march again through historic China Town where we met by a group of students in an all Chinese school who studied the negative impact of Pennsylvania’s Key Stone tests on second Language learners, and organized an Opt Out campaign at their school. My feet were barely keeping up with me as we marched on picnic in the park, a little rest and wash up, and then we ended the day in Historic Strawberry Mansion neighborhood for an Opt Out Town hall at Mander’s field. Where parents, young people, and community leaders told the story of how Pennsylvania School Reform Council close two love local public schools, and replaced them with for profit Charter schools. For profit Charter Schools that failed and were closed, and preplaced with another for profit Charter School Chain. All done with little input from the community. Their stories spoke that old civil rights truth that compels people to march. I was welcomed, fed, and treated like a hero. The truth is I was surround by giants far bigger than I.
Of course Philadelphia was made possible by two of the most incredible mother/activists I have ever met, Alicia Elizabeth Dorsey and Alison Hawver McDowell. They brought the amazing PFT Caucus “WE” (Working Educators). I was even met by that Badass Teacher Terry Preuss from Florida Boward County Teachers Union. But most of all I walked on the stories of three young boys, Sergio, James and Jake. I promise I write about them soon. It hard to write through these tears, but I will find a way, and I will carry their truths on to DC.
I am walking through Delaware where things appear to be quiet as the legislature passed legislation that gives every parent the right to Opt Out. I am 290 miles down with 16 days and 110 miles to go.
We are more than half way with our goal of funding me ~ thank-you so much. I am doing this walk because…. And it is your donations and good wishes that keep me going.
Motels, tolls and gas have eaten their way through much of what I raised thus far. So anything you can do will help this Walking Man make it to DC.
16 Walking Days to go until I tell it on that mountaintop in Washington DC.
Just in case people missed the Bronx 12 News coverage of my walk > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BANOQdsxsRY&feature=em-upload_owner <
Walking to DC ~ Jesse.
Thank you for having my back today, and the next 42 days ahead. I should be done with CT by the end of this week. At that point when I hit New York, I won't be driving home each and every day, I will need to stay overnight in some cheap Motel 6's :-)
Until next time ~ Jesse, The Walking Man
It's all-good, but at times it can be a little overwhelming at times. Sometimes it can be lonely, and sometimes to be honest it can be scary. I start thinking how the heck did you get yourself into this Jesse. Then I remember that everything I know professionally indicates these education reforms are failures. I find myself praying often on my walks, asking for strength and courage. Saying Dear Lord make it matter. Please make it matter.
Then like an answer to my prayers:
Someone post a positive comment on Facebook about the walk, a simple "You go Jesse". Every Facebook like gives me hope, every Go Fund Me contribution lifts me.
A School of Education Dean saying I am going to walk the whole 10 miles with you on Thursday your first day empowers me.
Manchester's Rev Josh Pawelek saying I want to walk with you on Monday reminds me I am not alone.
A retired couple from Kansas calling to say we are planning to walk with you in Philadelphia, and are walking with you again in DC.
Dr. Ricardo Rosa from Dartmouth calls to say I am walking with you everyday in New York inspires me.
Every time I grow weary someone reaches out. A few kind words refreshes me, empowers me, inspires me, moves me, and compels to walk.
Finally just before I put my head down someone like Terrance Moore a retired teacher from NJ helping to organize our Newark event sends me a YouTube link to "This school is your school, this school is my school
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ4FztzKc3E >
Then like Saint George that Knight who fought the good fight everyday, feel to the ground, but always rose up renewed and ready to go again.
I am walking for:
For justice not just tests, and
I never walk alone.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner