Mr. V The Ruler

This Is Me

J osé Luis Vilson is a math educator for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York. He’s also a committed writer, activist, web designer, and father.

His first solo project, This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and the Future of Education, was published by Haymarket Books in the Spring of 2014, which was endorsed by American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, NYU professor Diane Ravitch, and Philadelphia principal and White House Champion of Change Chris Lehmann. He was also recently inducted into the Math for America Master Fellowship, cohort 2014.

He is the founder of EduColor, an coalition of teachers, parents, and other concerned citizens dedicated to the uplift of people of color in education. He has served as a board member on the Board of Directors for the Center for Teaching Quality and the president emeritus of the Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University. He writes regularly for Edutopia and Progressive Magazine, and has contributed to The New York Times,, Education Week, Huffington Post, and El Diario / La Prensa NY. He has also been featured at PBS, Mashable, Idealist, Chalkbeat NY, TakePart, Manhattan Times, and the Fusion. He co-authored the book Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Students and Public Schools … Now and In The Future with Dr. Barnett Berry and 11 other accomplished teachers, and profiled in two other books: Teacherpreneurs (Berry, Byrd, Weider; 2013) and Teaching with Heart (Scribner, Intrator; 2014).

He was named one of GOOD Inc.’s GOOD100 in 2013 of leaders changing their worlds and an Aspen Ideas Scholar in 2013. He has also spoken at TEDxNYED, Education Writers Association Annual Conference, Netroots Nation, and the Save Our Schools March. His blog,, is well-regarded, named one of the top 25 Education Blogs by Scholastic, Education World, and University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s Teach 100.

To contact him, click here.

For more information on his videos, interviews, and published pieces, click here.

Comments 41

  1. John Chew

    Hi Jose –
    I am a former NYC Teaching Fellow (cohort 6). I spent close to 5 years in the program and taught 4th and 6th grade in the South Bronx. I really like your blog, and look forward to reading some of the older entries.

    All the best,
    John Chew

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  2. Rasha

    You are truly an inspiration with your refreshingly insightful blogs. I hope to be as passionate and dedicated as you when I have my own students to teach, in the near future.

    Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Rasha Khalil

  3. Victoria

    I am very inspired that you are so passionate about helping to improve the education system and are committed to teaching in an urban area. As a pre-service teacher, I am very interested in teaching in an urban area, and find your blog very helpful and insightful. I also enjoy how you incorporate poetry to describe your life and work.

    Thank you

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  5. Laura Moin

    I came across your blog while searching for the Top 20 Teachers’ Blogs. I work for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), which is an NSF-funded open online digital library of high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) resource for educators and learners.
    I want to invite you to explore the NSDL ( and if you consider it appropriate to put a link to it on your blog. I am sure your colleagues, teachers, students, and parents would highly benefit from accessing these free resources and curated collections.
    I am adding here just two of the hundred thousands resources you will find in NSDL. These ones are bilingual math resources.
    Please, do not hesitate to contact me (email or phone) and I would be more than happy to provide you with more guidance for effectively using

    Best regards,

    Laura J. Moin, Ph.D.
    Outreach and Professional Development Manager

    Technology PoW
    Technology Problems of the Week (tPoWs) are problem-solving challenges that take advantage of interactive mathematics tools such as Java applets or spreadsheets. Students may submit their answers to share their solutions, and then self-mentor using hints, checks, and suggestions for extensions.
    Dave’s Math Tables is an excellent mathematical resource. The mathematical reference tables include General Math, Algebra, Geometry, Odds and Ends, Trigonometry, Calculus, Statistics, and Advanced Topics. In addition, the site features an interactive area for posting and answering mathematical questions and a list of related Internet resources.

  6. Danielle

    Hey ,

    I just read “New York Times: Future Schools Don’t Have Many Teachers In Them” and loved it! Would it be okay if I used a portion of the post for a new blog post my writing team would be creating in the future?


    Danielle Kim

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  8. rachel

    I’m just reading on, learning from achievers like you … God has indeed blessed you with the skills, talents and opportunities to glorify Him. Thanks for sharing them and God bless you more! Keep it up with your faith.

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  13. History Buff

    One of Quisqueya’s finest sons.

    Growing up in a family of intellectuals, I was always familiar with the Dumas family history and their roots in Haiti. Alexandre Dumas is one of the most beloved and the most widely read of all “French” writers but very few outside of Haiti know about his father, this great man, the “original Dumas”. Indeed most French people are unaware of Alexandre Dumas the writer’s African origins. This is why a couple of years ago a scandal broke in France when Gerard Depardieu was cast to play Dumas in a french movie. The minority community there revolted.

    Now Tom Reiss shows how he was the inspiration for all those great stories that fascinated so many of us during our childhood.

    But Reiss is not the first to write about this great man; Claude Ribbe also wrote about Alexandre Dumas, Père in “Le Diable Noir” :

  14. alison

    hi, I teach middle school math and reading a lot of your posts had me tearing.. I actually concentrated on my final project for my masters in teaching math for social justice. I read a lot of eric gutstein and inspired me. I hope to maybe share ideas and experiences of possible. Thanks for thoughts

  15. Rebeca Lozano

    Hola Jose!

    I love your blog, lot of good readings and links. I am living my first years teaching and despite I have decided very passionate to be a teacher there are days that I come back home super frustrating. Then I see in my mail inbox your blog news and then I read and I think ….. this is a special a marvelous profession this is what I really want to do, I love it, I love to share want kids and the future generations whatever I have for sharing, my knowledge, my experience my values, etc… and I say to myself keep on reading, learning as your were one of your students and you will get it. Be patient. Thank you so much for your words and your precious time that you give us. Rebeca

  16. nikki stevens

    We need to bring prayer back to public schools. Prayers are free and no one can get rich off of it. State tests, Frameworks and etc are not in the best interest of the students, they are money makers for companies and individuals.

  17. Yenny

    Hello, Mr. Vilson!

    I am a college student currently working towards a degree in secondary English education in NJ and I just had the pleasure of discovering your site. I look forward to seeing more of your work and thank you so much for everything you do. Although I’m set in my desire to be an educator, I know the difficulties that can come with it, and I do occasionally find myself wavering in my resolve. Listening to folks such as yourself is a great motivator!

    I am also the president of my university’s Education Association, which is in lieu with the statewide organization for professional development. I hope I can someday interest you in coming in as a guest speaker for my fellow future educators.

    All the best,

  18. nikki stevens

    America is a nation that has turned her back against God. Our government loves and financially support wars. America’s powerful government enjoys hurting the poor and middle class regardless of color, but especially Blacks and Hispanics. Now people are angry because Duncan made a a horrible statement against white moms and their children. Well he has been calling urban students stupid everytime he calls their schools failing schools for years. I appalled suburban moms for standing up against common core standards, testing and his remark against your children. I only wish black moms and dads would stand and stop letting him call their children stupid and closing their public schools. But there are two issues here. First, teachers, administrators and parents should have read the NCLB law years ago and fought against it years ago, it basically predicted what is happening now. Plus suburban parents watched the horror of urban school closing and charter schools taking over because the government called them failing schools. But most of us understands that the government wants to stop funding public schools in America and sell them to corporations and the government knows it is easier to do it in cities first because urban parents wouldn’t fight back. Especially if the charter school is giving them a free laptop, nook, paying for their internet, has extended school hours and lots of activities. Now they are coming after the suburban school, if they came for urban schools in the morning you should have known they would be coming for your schools at night. NCLB is and always has been a failure, but there was no outcry. NCLB, Common Core Standards, Charlotte Danielson Framework, Student Growth Objective, the new test coming soon and all the other stuff outsiders are creating are making the creators of these thing rich and public schools will be going financially broke. The government goal is to financially break public schools, suburban parents are tired of their property taxes going up , cities have no money, and close all public schools and sell them to the highest bidders. Yes suburbia, the government wants your school too. Teachers, administrators, parents and even students should have fought and we need to stand and fight not because Pres. Obama a black man is president. We need to fight together because NCLB should never have been passed and it needs to be completely abolished. Arne Duncan needs to step down, Pres. Obama, the democrats and republicans needs to stop arguing with each other and do a search for a new secretary who cares about our students and not corporations. Then they need to do a survey to ask teachers, administrators, parents and students ther ideas. The government then needs to form a panels of parents, teachers, students and administrators to work with them to come up with an educational policy that will be able to create creative thinkers in the classroom who would eventually become doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc. And lastly, prayer needs to return to public schools. When we go to church we pray, but when our children go to public schools they can not pray. Remember the absence of God brings chaos, and it is chaos going on with our public schools because our past and present leaders should have prayed first and returned prayer back to public schools.

  19. Jose Berríos

    Coming from teaching in the roughest ghettos in my beloved Puerto Rico, I feel you. We will succeed because I’m “confident in the victory of good over evil” (Marley). You and I have the same style of mixing up the classics with modern urbanosophy. The sincere has no boundaries, and those who get it, understand true ingenuity comes from anywhere. Look forward to collaborating. Paz y Amor

  20. JoAnn Flejszar

    On a day when I needed to continue to believe that public education will survive and those of us in the classroom truly do a good job and make a difference to all kids, I came across a tweet by Luann Lee talking about your upcoming book release “This is Not a Test!” I responded to her tweet by suggesting a book study Twitter group. Thank you for tweeting back with your support. I cannot wait to have a meaningful discussion about what it means to teach and have lasting impact on students lives who deserve it just as much as those students who come from wealth and privilege. You are a breath of fresh air and have led me to a group of people who continue to believe in public education.

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  28. SomerEmpress

    Blessings to you! Enjoying your blog and your commitment to the “fight”. It is indeed one. Stay on the battlefield. You just might make me reconsider re-entering the classroom. I’ll keep you posted.

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