parody Archives - The Jose Vilson


How I Might Have Intro’d The Bammy Awards

by Jose Vilson on September 24, 2013

in Jose

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

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

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. A discussion has erupted around the idea of humor and appropriateness in the education circle. Rather than speak on something I didn’t witness myself, I’d like a turn at introducing the Bammys. We’ll call it a do-over.

[Starts with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan welcoming everyone from his office. Insert platitudes about respect for teachers here. Zooms out where you see a black pair of pants on the left side of him. Duncan keeps talking, but as camera zooms out, audience notices Jose Vilson with "not impressed" face. Duncan keeps talking. Camera keeps zooming in to Vilson's face. Camera stops at his mouth. Vilson yells, "Welcome to the Bammyyyyyyyyssss!" with Chuck D impersonation.]

[Female voice says, "Welcome To The Bammys, with:". Reads list of every person there with a Klout score higher than 50 and other special guests, which is like everybody. She says, "Here's your host, Joseeeee Vilson!!!]

*cues up instrumental to “N-Words In Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West*

[Vilson runs on stage with a suit and Yankee brimmed hat]

Everybody scream!

So I teach so hard, Mayor Bloomberg wanna fire me, but first he gotta find me
What’s 50 grand to a teacher like me? That’s a lot, don’t you remind me!
(Teach so hard) I teach crazy, my teacher rating don’t even faze me
My kids could go 0 for 82 on their tests and I look at you like this job’s gravy
(Teach so hard) Teach so hard, this thing rare
We ain’t even supposed to be here!
(Teach so hard) Since we here, we might as well treat kids fair …


[Stop music]

OK, OK, OK, that was fun. Welcome everyone to the Second Annual Bammy Awards! We have a live audience today of some of the coolest kids in the sandbox gathered here today, and who better to MC this event than the guy whose faculty always pegs for the guy who’s gonna rap for karaoke? I mean, just because I know Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” by heart doesn’t mean …

Seriously, I’m OK with being one of [Vilson counts audience members] five Cocoa Puffs in a big bowl of milk. Really. I just made Errol Smith really uncomfortable. My bad, dawg.

By the way, Melinda Anderson didn’t write this one for me. I does it all by himself!

Also, I had to cut down my speech by 40% due to austerity measures. I’m doing most of this on comp time, so I’ll take a nap shortly after this.

So welcome to this set of awards. I flew in from New York City, and my arms are in fact tired. It’s been a lot of indecision over the last month. Indecision about who New York City wants for Democratic mayor, indecision over whether Obama’s gonna bomb Syria, indecision over whether I was wearing the long blue tie or the black bowtie. This is why smart men need smarter partners in their lives. And so do I. Thanks, Luz.

One thing I have decided is that, yes, Senator Ted Cruz is crazy! He’s at least worth five Buzzfeed articles and 20 GIFs. Is that like a currency now? If so, does Kenzo Shibata and the rest of the Chicago Teachers Union get to judge which ones make it from this audience? Aren’t you happy they won? Here’s a group of teachers who said, “We’re mad at hell! We want normal stuff like toilet paper for kids and open schools! Yes! We’re not gonna take it anymore!” This is where I’d make a GIF of Jonah Edelman followed by a tuba, preferably playing the “Price Is Wrong” theme song.

[Plays theme song for audience. Vilson makes fake sad face.]

You also probably noticed the inconspicuously dressed bodyguard at the door checking bags. Yes, that was Alfie Kohn scanning your bags and tossing out homework. Yes, it was. Doubt me if you must.

My friend and SLA principal Chris Lehmann’s here. You ever wonder why he smiles so much? I got the secret: he chews on his sons. I mean, Jakob and Theo never quit being adorable on Instagram. Actually, I get to judge your smiles based on how many chewable kids you have. Brand new parents tend to have the whitest teeth. It’s true.

Michael Doyle’s here. I heard him call me the greatest education blogger of all time. I know he didn’t say that, but I’ll take my award and leave anyways. Deuces! Errol’s looking at me right now like, “If this guy doesn’t stay right there …”

Mary Beth Hertz couldn’t be here, sadly. She’s a great Edutopia blogger out of Philly and she sends her regard. You’ll notice a slight change in her avatar if you’re following her on Twitter. Instead of hugging her tech tools and smiling at the camera, she’s flinging them at Mayor Nutter and every Philly school official in sight. She’s kinda angry. Right, Randi Weingarten?

John Spencer said he couldn’t be here. He says he doesn’t really wear suit and ties. Justin Timberlake does not approve.

That wasn’t funny? Scott McLeod thinks I deserve a better audience.

Audrey Watters isn’t in the audience yet. She’s at the bar drinking the Edmodo folks under the table. She deserves a badge for that.

A couple of big education books have come out recently. Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager came out, which explains the increase of pterodactyls all up in your timelines. No, I’m not calling Gary Stager old. Nor a flying reptile. Just when you search for “pterodactyl” on Ye Old Encyclopedia Brittanica … goodness, don’t you dare blog about this!

Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch came out this year. It was wild. Her marketing strategy was genius! Have a ton of popular bloggers and news outlets write about her and her upcoming book on their blogs and she’d link back to them to increase the dialogue. Shortly thereafter, she introduced the book to the people who actually like her!

The hate came in droves! It’s like those people who leave flyers on your door from all the restaurants you already tried and didn’t like. Except, because she’s an education historian, she goes to her computer and writes a book about it. The rest of us aren’t always as prodigious, I assure you.

Michelle Rhee came out with a book, too, entitled Radical. Now, now, DC, no need to boo. She says she’s a radical, but really, I think she’s a square. Chuckle, chuckle, math jokes, hardy. It’s about TIME!

Is Finland in the house? Oh. Cool. Finland is the one word everyone in education agrees on. Not sure what we’re agreeing upon, but Finland seems to be synonymous with the word “good.” In my next teacher conference, I’ll just tell my students’ parents, “Oh, your child’s doing Finland, yeeaah!” “Him? He’s not doing as Finland as he could, but he’s like the US. Yes, it means he ain’t that bad, either.”

Of course, The United States has to worry about our highest needs students. Our students in poverty need wrap-around services, support, and caring environments, instead of throwing bubble sheets at them while they’re ready to pop. Sometimes, it’s like we’re Dora and Boots telling politicians “Swiper no swiping,” and every time our country races somewhere or leaves a bunch of kids behind, Swiper turns around and says, “It’s tooooo late!” [Vilson inserts Swiper voice]

But there’s hope, and I know there’s hope because we got all you beautiful people in the audience here. Applaud for yourself. Parents, thank you for chasing kids down when they’re not doing their work. Teachers, thank you for waking parents up with your morning phone calls and progress reports. Students, thank you for annoying all of us with your “Can I go to the bathroom why are we learning math aw man I don’t wanna do homework?” questions because you make us better. Thank you, all! Thank you as well to the librarians, social workers, counselors, art teachers, phys. ed. teachers, and all the other staff that people wanna keep cutting out.

Dora says, “Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!” It’s their turn to say, “Aww man!”

Lastly, we have Nancy Carlsson-Paige, education speaker, activist, teacher … and Matt Damon’s mom. You know me, I love Matt Damon. Me and him go way back to the Save Our Schools March. He offered to write a blurb for my book and it would have read, “Oh, that guy. Yes, I remember now. Cool.” We roll deep, even after we once met once.

But I have some news for him. As much as he’s lauded by some of us for his education points of view, as an actor, he missed a few subjects, so now, I have a secret for everyone:

[Cues up "I'm F*ckin Matt Damon" by Sarah Silverman]

I’m teaching Matt Damon!
[Matt Damon appears on screen to sing along] He’s teaching Matt Damon!
I’m sorry, but it’s true! I’m teaching Matt Damon!
He’s teaching Matt Damon!
I’m not imagining it’s Bill Gates, I’m teaching Matt Damon!

Teaching English, teaching math, in my classroom’s where it’s at
Got Ben Affleck on the phone and he’s playing a bat

So I’m teaching Matt Damon! He’s teaching Matt Damon!

[Ends music]

Value-add THAT! Yes, I got away with the wildest joke in edu-history!

Thank you and welcome to the Bammy Awards!

Wild applause. Standing ovations. Likes, retweets, +1s, and hollers heard round the world. A few people wonder what a Buzzfeed is. They don’t have a Klout score, as far as Vilson can tell.


{ 1 comment }

AP: Jay-Z Signs Math Educator Jovan Miles to Roc Nation

by Jose Vilson on October 8, 2012

in Jose

Math Educator Jovan Miles

Somewhere in the future …

For the casual music fans, it’s easy to see why one might get confused looking at the initial Roc Nation artists. Jay-Z. J-Cole. Jay Electronica. The trifecta of J’s (and Willow Smith) have had their share of success either from the underground circuit to the international stage (in varying degrees). Yet, none of them have what the latest “J” has: the attention of classrooms for a whole city.

Enter Jovan Miles.

After another successful Roc Nation concert, the head honcho held a press conference at Phillips Arena to announce the formal signing of hometown hero Jovan Miles: a math academic coach and educator working out of Atlanta, GA. The signing marks the first time a record label has signed an educator to a major rap label of Roc Nation’s stature, and this event certainly didn’t go unnoticed. The press room had an audience equal parts media, politicians, business heads, parents, superintendents, and Jovan’s favorite constituency: his former and present students from the various classrooms he affected as teacher and academic coach for schools throughout Atlanta.

Jay-Z extolled the virtues of getting an education, stating that his primary purpose for the signing was to “ensure that more Black kids didn’t get the experience I did back in high school. Lots goes into the job, but we’re happy we can help.” His educational endeavors through his Shawn Carter Foundation only seemed focused on college, but with this statement, he may have rethought his strategy for philanthropy. Asked about the language of the contract, Jay-Z said, “Oh, it’s nothing like an artist contract. Think about it like a grant. Yeah, I called myself the Kennedy of the game, but now call me the MacArthur of the game, too. Genius.”

That drew laughs from the crowd.

Asked about the signing, Miles calls it a blessing. “It’s about time teachers get recognized for the things they do as professionals and not just the people entrusted in children’s future. Especially with what’s going on in Atlanta, I gotta thank Jay and the Roc for putting me on.” A journalist yelled out whether he would use the monies to get a Roc-A-Fella chain, he paused, then said, “Nah, I got kids to feed!” The crowd erupted, specifically his students who have had their slice of the Miles Experience.

“This is a big freakin’ deal!” said Elliott Wilson, editor of Rap Radar and former editor of XXL Magazine. “I’m usually not astounded by something Jay does, but this puts him over here,” waving his hand just above eye level. “See here? He’s past most rap philanthropists. And wannabes. Ha!”

“What you notice immediately about Jovan is his passion for teaching math,” added Danyel Smith, editor and author of She Is Every Woman. “If only most of my math teachers had that sort of passion, I probably would have liked math a bit more. Especially a Black male teacher? Hard to come by. We’ve always had guys like KRS-One and Poor Righteous Teachers who use the ‘teaching’ as an analogy, but an actual teacher signing? Awesome!”

Jovan Miles has a reputation for engaging as both students and educators alike, and his potential for national recognition might have been the key to his signing. Jose Vilson, fellow math educator in New York City, commented, “This might change the conversation some. No longer can we try to separate the art and science of teaching from lives as professionals. Now we got one person who got their money right; the others have to follow.” Asked if he may get signed to a label with a similar contract, “That might be nice, but do you think it’d be kinda weird having five J’s under the same roof? Who knows?”

While education reformers like Michelle Rhee couldn’t be reached for comment, it’s safe to say that critics have found such a contract somewhat inappropriate. “I think you can’t just throw money at the problem,” said Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children. “I get that he’s getting money, but why doesn’t the money go to the kids? Wu-Tang is for the children; why isn’t he?” He then retreated before we could ask about his more than five million dollar non-profit and his recent failure in Chicago.

The lights shone so bright at the press conference, Jovan in his patented argyle sweater vest, glistened through the Q&A session. The most charming moment may have come at the end when a student shouted to Jay-Z, “Give us a freestyle!” to which Jay replied, “Jovan, go in.”

“It’s Jovan Miles, forget all the imposters.
I’m so sick, I think I might need a doctor.
Look at the things I’ve done without a doctorate
Without the Doctor, without the beat, I’m still a monster.
Still drop the theorems worse than Pythagorean
First it was classrooms, now it’s coliseums
Museums where I took my students now is where you see em
First, they diss the kid and now they wanna be him …

OK, that’s all I got.”

“I can’t remember the last time I got an applause in the classroom. Whenever that was,” said Dr. Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory School in Hartford, CT. But Jovan’s obviously not about that, at least that’s what we surmise from the kids who hugged him afterwards.

Jose, who doesn’t think anyone knew I would do this …

{ 1 comment }

Comments To That Snoop Dogg Article You Didn’t See

by Jose Vilson on February 22, 2012

in Jose

As I’m sure you’re aware, there will always be comments worth posting after reading an article like the Snoop Dogg post I wrote recently. Comments not only give us a glimpse of what the specific person believes, but the general mood of your readers. Thus, in the spirit of Jon Becker, here are the comments from Facebook, Twitter, and the EdWeek … kinda.

Random Commenter 1

For the love of Christ, this was good! You made such good connections. My only question is: what do you think about the song “Gin and Juice” and how can we as educators learn from that song. With my mind on my teaching and the teaching on my mind.

Random Commenter 2 (who I know)

Jose, you crazy bastard. You did it again. This is the type of voice we need in edu-discussions, not the same old from both sides of the equation trying to bore my Google Reader to death. Well played, sir. Well played.


“Guess who’s back in the motherfucking house,
With a fat dick for your motherfucking mouth.
Hoes recognize, niggas do too,
Cuz when the steel get stainless, they pull a voodoo.”

Sorry, but I don’t see how I can learn anything from your post. Snoop Doggy Dogg or Snoop Dogg or Snoopy or Dogg or whatever you want to call him is not the role model I would like to have for my kids. It’s awful music. Plus, he’s a misogynist, and a rapper. Which is basically the same thing isn’t it? I mean, look at all the bling and the pimp culture. Yes, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones also had their issues back in the day, but it’s different. They … they … they didn’t curse in their songs that much. I have limits, and this was too much.

Jose Vilson

Look at your list. Check it twice. You better find out if your favorite people were naughty or nice.


You’re such a snarky bastard. Why can’t you just agree with us and take down this article? I totally missed the point of this article because my world view is so small. Tonight, I’ll still be in the club drinking beers and listening to country singers do the same things rappers do, but I’m pointing my finger at you because … because … well, just because. Ugh!


Why come you have to talk about teacherpreneurs? The market and democracy are incompatible. Diane Ravitch said so! I know you didn’t actually mention entrepreneurship here, but I just want to make sure that’s clear. In case Bill Gates shows up to comment here.

Bill Gates

No, I won’t. It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none. Nah mean? Chill, homie.


I don’t think any of this really matters until you cite something from Diane. You have to be a little more creative, more radical, more researched based. Like Diane is. I don’t even think Dr. Ravitch has met Snoop Dogg, so how is Snoop even relevant in education? We need to validate him and I think that’s the best way to do so.

Alex R. The Writer

Jose, you’re an edu-giant, a Goliath amongst the small straw men of the education reform world. So thank me, or else.


I gotta be honest, Jose, I didn’t even think about that. Snoop Dogg came from a church background, and his gangsta turn would be disappointing to anyone who understood that. While he’s still up to the same nonsense, you took a hilarious look at a guy whose music I might not always agree with, but I dance to anyways. This was pretty good, Jose. I’ll be sharing this with my co-teachers tomorrow.

Ghostface Killah

Yo, son, you the illest, my G. This joint was so tough, it was HD MMA NFL Mario Manningham Catching The Pigskin While Getting Kicked in The Ass Out Of Bounds type shit, yo. I’ma start calling you Mr. Wicked Wallabee X-Wanderer, son, word is bond!


So, you’re still going to have Pedro Noguera on your site? Really?


No we’re not Alex. Why use a pseudonym like we can’t read what you’re writing? You’re such an instigator. Why don’t you go back and read a book … like The Death and Life of The Great American School System? Now on paperback with more Ravitchy goodness!

Diane Ravitch

Umm, even I think this is a little ridiculous.


See, Jose, the problem is, you write with nuance and conviction. You inject humor and parody. Plus, a lot of eyes rest themselves upon this blog. Rather than try to actually read what you’re saying, they rather attack you with ad hominems and inuendo. Those of us who love your writing want you to keep doing so. The LBC rapper would definitely approve if he read this. If he wasn’t so high up (see what I did there?).

Jose Vilson

Oy vey!

Jose, who parodied this whole thing for effect. No, EdWeek did not reject this. Yes, I was actually making fun of myself. No, I don’t want you to take my critiques seriously. Yes, if you think it’s about you, it probably is. No, Diane didn’t actually comment on this, but if she did, I’m sure she’s crack the hell up. I understand she has a sense of humor.


Lost Article: How Snoop Dogg Can Help You Out Of The Edu-Dogghouse

February 16, 2012 Jose
Snoop Doggy Dogg Smoking

A few months ago, I wrote this article in response to some of the comments I read about my EdWeek / Jay-Z article. It was approved, but due to the backlash I received, they took it down. Never mind. I decided to publish it here. Also, look for some of the comments I received on […]

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Eww. Seriously. That Is So Gross. (Education Reform Put To The Test)

January 31, 2012 Jose
Eww. Seriously? So Gross. (GEICO Commercial)

Ever have a baby sleeping right on your stomach when you see a hilarious commercial and you’re trying to suppress your laughter which only makes you laugh harder? That was the premise for tonight when I watched this Geico commercial about a guy who uses some popular girls from the local high school to help […]

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2011 Unpublished GQ Interview for Man of the Year [Mr. Vilson vs. Jose Part 3]

December 21, 2011 Jose

For some reason, GQ Magazine (Yes, Gentlemen’s Quarterly) decided not to publish their interview with me for Man of the Year 2011. Those of us who’ve been occupying and marching on Washington, DC, got a little shine via Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue as “The Protestor.” Obviously, we can do better. I know, […]

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