Speaking on the Criminalization of Black Youth

Jose Vilson Jose, Video Leave a Comment

A few weeks ago, The New America Foundation had me and a few other luminaries (shout out to Nikole Hannah-Jones!) speak on the criminalization of Black youth in our schools. As the only classroom teacher, I felt passionately about throwing down the hammer whenever I got the mic, as you’ll see below. It’s worth the sitting in case you weren’t there. Just as awesome was that friends Sabrina Stevens  and …

Red apple on teacher's desk

Teacher Appreciation

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

The last time I saw her, she was a proud teacher to students with special needs. We discussed the future of activism in education and the great work coming out of efforts we have worked on together. She has built her voice through song, social justice, and, just as important, students. This week, she informed a collection of us that her principal fired her from the profession she loved. The …

this is not a test book party

Stare Them In The Eyes

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

Before I continue, I’ve been nominated for the National Education Association’s Social Justice Award. If you’re an NEA / UFT member, please consider voting for me. Thank you! Voting ends on May 18th, 2015. When John Norton, editor and writing guru, was having long conversations with me on Skype about the direction of my book, he often told me that the book would elevate my voice in ways I couldn’t …

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Why Math Is A Social Justice Issue [Edutopia]

Jose Vilson Jose

Read my latest entry at Edutopia, my posit that math is a social justice issue: Even though Americans generally believe that math is the most important subject in school, students tend to drop out at higher rates when introduced to harder math and sciences. It seems the desire is there, but the skill and understanding are not. While there are a plethora of reasons for students to drop out, math …

Memorial_Day_at_Arlington_National_Cemetery

A Child’s First Teacher

Jose Vilson Guest Posts 4 Comments

[Today’s special guest is Anthony Mullen, 2009 Teacher of the Year and awesome writer. Feel free to tell us what you think about his post in the comments below.] Spring is in the air and I am surrounded by death. The countless small white headstones seem so clean, neat, tidy – each a small but insignificant reminder that a person once lived. I come here often but still get lost …

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Were You At The Protest, Too?

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

“Were you at the protest, too?” I’ve had no less than four people ask my directly why I haven’t written about my classroom experiences lately. Some of it stems from speaking truth to the gaping hole I continue to see in education writing, namely the intersectional race lens of events like the Atlanta cheating scandal and the Baltimore uprising. At this stage of the game, these events deserve more attention …

Handpicked-raisins

Raisins Exploding In The Sun

Jose Vilson Jose 35 Comments

“… when someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.” – Adrienne Rich “And yet it was impossible for me not to notice that the overwhelming majority of activist educators who gathered for this conference in Chicago were white; it was impossible not to notice …

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Of Challenge and Controversy (Why I Support Marylin Zuniga)

Jose Vilson Jose

Prison is not justice. When you’ve grown up with cousins and former students revolving in and out of Rikers and Sing-Sing, preferring incarceration to the instability of what we constitute as free, then you’d know why justice is not truly served by throwing people into jail and doing away with their lives. I’ve seen humans thrown in prison through human casualty, human error, human prejudice, and human cruelty, too. Society …

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The Short Hand on the Clock (On Common Core State Testing)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 9 Comments

It happens every year, no matter whose tests I proctor. My heart beats faster. Pencil points blunt and break, and I swoop in with a quick replacement. Students look up at me from their papers and I make a signal to look back at their papers instead. A few students take naps and I look at them with equal parts disappointment and envy, assuming they’d triple check their answers before …