Secretary Arne Duncan and comedian Stephen Colbert, both of whose job I would do so much better at, but I'll stick to teaching anyways

How I Might Have Intro’d The Bammy Awards

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

There’s been lots of talk about this past Saturday’s Bammy Awards. I’ve written a bunch on diversity at the Bammys and even the executive producer left a comment here after our feisty discussion. However, I’ve kept mute during and after the Bammy Awards, letting others report out. As with any awards show, there were lots of bright spots and dim spots, almost all of them from people who actually attended. …

Diane Ravitch

I’m Diane Ravitch and I’m Tired of Your Shit (A Review of Reign of Error)

Jose Vilson Jose 15 Comments

Pardon my flippancy, but didn’t NYU professor Diane Ravitch already tell you what to do in The Death and Life of the Great American School System? When I was asked to do a review of this book a month ago, I had just started reading a few chapters of her last page turner, soaking up every word while getting mentally ready for the new school year. Bulletin boards needed posting, …

Muhammad Ali, Convincing

Short Notes: I’m Not Burning My A-Rod Jersey

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A few notes: If every customer of McDonald’s paid 22 cents more for their Big Mac, their workers could make a much better wage overall? What are they waiting for?! [The Daily Beast] Dave Zirin writes a  great piece on why the MLBPA (the baseball players’ union) should back A-Rod, no matter what we actually think of him. [The Nation] A gay teacher loses his job after posting his wedding …

Short Notes: What Exactly Is Emancipation?

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A few notes: My latest post at The Collaborateurs talks about my own journey as an alternative certification teacher to where I am now. [CTQ] Phillippe Copeland questions the meaning of Juneteenth, especially when there are more black men incarcerated than were enslaved back then. Just saying. [GOOD] Diane Ravitch’s latest target is Michael Bloomberg, who uses some financial legerdemain to buy out and silence his critics. For New Yorkers, …

Open Letter To Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Others on The Idea of Assessment

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

To Chancellor Dennis Walcott, David Coleman, Merryl Tisch, and McGraw-Hill Publishers: First, I’ll mention that, since the discussions of the Common Core Learning Standards came to the fore, I’ve had a plethora of chances to immerse myself in the new vision for a quasi-nationalized education paradigm. In NYC, as usual, education policy makers feel the need to set the standard for the nation, from Bloomberg’s mayoral control dictates to the …

New-York-Times-Headquarters1

The New York Times and Why Adding More Educators To Your Panel Matters

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

Last year around this time, I criticized the New York Times for not having many K-12 educators on their panel. Excuse me, for having maybe three current teachers and another handful of former teachers out of a possible 70 panelists. I laughed at the prospect of a public education system without any educators, and my own suspicions about the composition of last year’s panel made me laugh harder. It felt …

Kermit4

A Letter About My View on the Common Core Learning Standards [Because "Shut Up" Isn't Clear Enough]

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

Dear Reader, Frankly, this post shouldn’t matter. I’m a classroom teacher first and foremost, and am often in situations where I can readily embody what most of my colleagues believe about education and the teachers’ role in education reform. It’s a privilege at times to rub elbows with union leaders, well-known activists, and other thought leaders and sharpen those elbows when their ideas go astray from my personal beliefs. I …

lookinthecloset

Why The New York Times Is Asking Me To Validate Myself

Jose Vilson Jose 18 Comments

Not sure if you’ve heard, but, against their own wishes -ahem-, the NYC Department of Education is releasing their infamous Teacher Data Reports, a set of papers ostensibly compiling a teacher’s student scores on English and Math scores from 3rd to 8th grade to determine their effectiveness, normalizing scores for effects like poverty and growth. For anyone that finds this as absurd as I do, you’ll know that not only …

My Very Real Takeaways About the SOS March

Jose Vilson Jose 8 Comments

Allow me to keep it real with you all. Not that I need to ask permission: 1. First, I’d like to thank those of you with encouraging words about my recent speech / poem at the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC. It’ll certainly be a moment I’ll never forget. For those of you that didn’t get to see the video, both Dan Brown  and Jon Becker put versions …

On Malcolm X And The Importance of Public Opinion

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

For the last few days, some of my fellow math teachers and I have been grading the NYS math test in an elementary school in Harlem. It’s been great because I get to wake up at 7 instead of 6 and still get to “work” on time. Yet, the warmer weather and my natural inquisitiveness has also sent me traversing my relatively new neighborhood in search of the best slices …