Homer Simpson Chokes Bart

When Teachers and Students Fight

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

The latest viral video comes out of Baltimore, MD, where the Orioles weren’t the ones swinging. This video, a shaky mess that needs watching and re-watching to fully get what’s happening, starts with a student pacing back and forth while the teacher makes a phone call to someone, presumably a parent. The fight ensues when the student throws a binder to the teacher’s face, prompting the teacher to charge at …

James Baldwin

Writing Yourself Right Out Of The Burning House

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

“Dear Self (& other writers)–If you’re not writing with the urgency of exile, what’s the point? Which is to say, your writing should convey so much immediacy, fire and risk that you chance being kicked out of something with each line. Your writing should make you fucking quake.” – Airea D. Matthews Kelly Wickham shared this quote with her friends recently and also commented that she thought about my recent …

burnttoast

Race, Class, and Acceptability As A Connected Educator [Aspiring To Karen]

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

Karen Lewis matters to me for a myriad of reasons, both personal and activist. She isn’t just the leader of the Chicago Teachers’ Union and the CORE caucus that took the education world by storm with fiery oratory and community-centered energy. She symbolizes a new vision for progressive education reform, one that speaks proactively about the education deforms with the nuance that only a Black woman such as herself can. …

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My History As An Elective

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

The first result from a Google Search I did on Indigenous Peoples’ Day was a racist rant from someone who clearly has a chip on their shoulder for the minimal advances that people of color have made in this country. It reminds me of an old adage used in my college days: white history is taught as a core course in college while other peoples’ history an elective. The idea …

The Nation, "Saving Public Schools"

A Progressive Education Agenda, Whatever That Means

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Nation’s “What’s Next for Public Education discussion, a collaboration with the New School featuring AFT President Randi Weingarten, NYU Professor Pedro Noguera, The Marshall Project journalist and author Dana Goldstein, and well-known parent activist Zakiyah Ansari, moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes with a few words from NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. Overall, I thought it was a good primer for some …

I-love-coffee

On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now)

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

The first audience reaction to my speech at the Network for Public Education came from a older, burly white man with big hands and a soft voice. Not that any of this scares me much since I’m from the hood, but context matters. “Jose, I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate what you had to say today, but, when you referred to Tea Party people as subhuman …” Whoa, what? …

Classroom Window

Changing The Narrative, Right From My Classroom

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Tomorrow, New York City teachers go for their first day back from vacation. With no kids and two weeks to clean out their caches (well, some of us), we’ll hopefully come back refreshed and ready to take on the relentless energies of the burgeoning young minds in front of us. Or whatever it is we choose to believe. This year, I’ve never been as excited to hop in and do …

My actual classroom from eight years ago. Same room this year, too.

Meeting My Once and Future Classroom

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Meet my once and future classroom. It once had a exposed wooden door, working lights, nine unmarked boxes, beige lockers, and a second year teacher scared for his career. I know this because I was him eight years ago. Throughout the year, the desks rumbled and shuffled about the class, sometimes in groups, in pairs, or in single row and file while students and their teacher prepared for tests of …

Ferguson-Michael-Brown-690

When Can We Talk About Race? (Michael + Trayvon + Renisha + …)

Jose Vilson Jose 12 Comments

This is often the way education conversations go: Higher-Up: Hey, so what do people want to talk about? Teacher 1: Can we talk about teacher evaluation? Higher-Up: Sure, what’s on your mind? Teacher 1: Well, here it goes. [long diatribe about how great / terrible Danielson is] Higher-Up: Well, OK. Anyone else? Teacher 2 (of color): Can we talk about race now? Higher-Up: Sounds complicated. We need a more appropriate …

You Can’t Educate With Us (On Tone-Policing When Silent)

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

I called someone a racist this past weekend. And a sexist for good measure. I don’t have much authoritative experience with the latter as I do the former, and I don’t go throwing around such a title lightly. I won’t go into the incident, but it was a long string of events that triggered me using the word, and, soon thereafter, people started opening up about some of the latent …