NEWPORT, RI - JULY 6:  Godfather of soul James Brown performs onstage at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 6, 1969 in Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Get Up Offa That Thing (Summer-Shaming)

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

July is the month that teachers get to be teachers without students. I’ve now been to five cities over the course of the last month, and saw nothing but teachers working on developing themselves as professionals and people. What’s missing in the debate over extended time in schools and summers in American schools is the lack of time teachers get to spend not worrying about the students in their care. …

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How I Engage With New Teachers [Gems from the Dirt]

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

I did a lot of listening in the last month, mostly to teachers who just finished their first year of teaching. The sorts of things we veteran teachers complained about when we first started teaching still persist (and in some cases are exacerbated). Some folks felt like their administrators didn’t listen to their feedback. Others felt their mentors were out to get them, or weren’t pedagogues who knew what they …

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The Students at the Center of Your Education Movement

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of having brunch with a set of folks whose social justice work I love and respect, one of whom was eventually fired for teaching social justice. I normally start by just listening to folks before I turn up my volume. This time, since pancakes and eggs were on the menu, I figured I’d start by talking us into a comfortable space. At some point, the …

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Despite All My Rage

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

I normally talk to young adults about math and other academics, but recently, because we’re winding up the school year, subjects have expanded to Fetty Wap and flicking wrists. The currency for “young and cool” changes over time, almost as quickly as we age. Yet, on this day, the subject turned to teachers. They went on to gossip about their favorite and least favorite teachers in the building. For a …

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Take Me To Church [On TFA, #BlackLivesMatter, and Education]

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

Whenever conservative pundit Michelle Malkin’s name comes up, you know it’s going to be a bloodbath of lies and obfuscation. Her latest article, reposted by the diabolical folks at that news rag, poses Teach for America (TFA) as a once-well meaning do-gooder organization who’ve let the inmates run the asylum (yes, I know what I did there). She said: “Teach For America has transformed itself into a recruiting center for …

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Agents Of The State

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

“How many of you have a child that you believe in and no one else does?” Seats shift. “How many of you can relate to the children in front of you? How many of you have students who get thrown out of everyone else’s class but yours?” Some people blink, some heads turn to the side, but the general assembly hums and huffs. This is a Bronx auditorium where a …

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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 …

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Stare Them In The Eyes

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

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 imagine. The morning after my book dropped on May 6th, 2014, I was on a train to meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. My strategy in conversing with politicians with whom I vehemently disagree …

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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 …