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Man Walking To Washington To Protest Federal Education Policies

Susan Notes: Jesse's walk is Good News. He represents millions of teachers and children.

Reader Comment:
Jesse Turner is walking for thousands of us parents and teachers who had hoped for REAL change. As if No Child Left Behind (NCLB) wasn't bad enough, President Obama's Race to the Top and other methods of "reform" to education are only increasing our over-reliance on high stakes testing. Our children are NOT data. They are real people who deserve a real education. Can we start funding our schools and not the testing companies? "Children are not test scores" is only one of MANY Facebook groups dedicated to ending this madness. Look for our protests around the country on July 30th. As Jesse says, "Every tidal wave begins with one drop of rain." Jesse's walking the walk, but there's a whole lot of us raindrops cheering him on!

by Helen Ubinas

At this rate, the road to the nation's capital is going to be mighty crowded with people calling attention to everything from failed school policies to shocking suicide rates among military veterans.

Last month, Jesse Turner, the director of Central Connecticut State University's Literacy Center, contacted me about his one-man trek that he's dubbed, "Children Are More Than Test Scores."

Turner is walking to Washington to protest two educational policies ΓΆ€” No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top ΓΆ€” that he believes "rely too heavily on standardized test scores and are too focused on punitive measures against local schools."

Turner says that the best data we have indicate that "the current reforms have had little or no effect, yet we are pushing harder than ever on more of those very reforms."
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I'd already planned to catch up with the adventuresome educator when I spotted a lone figure walking in the pouring rain on Route 66 in Hebron this weekend.

For a moment, I thought it might be Turner. But this man was wearing a sandwich board announcing "18 Vets a Day Commit Suicide!"

Turns out that the hearty walker was Ron Zaleski, a veteran who is walking barefoot across the country to promote mandatory counseling for military personnel.

Zaleski started his journey in Concord, N.H., on June 1 as part of "The Long Walk Home," a nonprofit organization he and a partner formed in 2006.

Zaleski's goal is to collect 1 million signatures during his estimated 13-month trek for a petition that he hopes to deliver to the White House.

I'm hoping to catch up with both men sometime soon. But in the meantime, check out Turner's Facebook page, "Children are More than Test Scores," and http://www.thelongwalkhome.org for information about Zaleski's trek.

— Helen Ubinas
Chicago Tribune



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