politics Archives - The Jose Vilson


Mayor Elect Bill deBlasio

Mayor Elect Bill deBlasio

As I type this, party planners will set up confetti on nets in the ceiling, soon to rain on the ardent and diverse supporters of presumed Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. NYC will have voted him in by the largest margin of any mayor in the city’s history. With a populist message and a charisma in stark contrast to current Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent curmudgeonly press conferences, de Blasio isn’t just a candidate who stands against his predecessor, but for a clear platform that gives New York back to the blue collar workers. People have made a lot about de Blasio’s children, one of whom sports an afro akin to Questlove’s, but as powerful as imagery is, I believe people are ready for a serious change and de Blasio represents that more than the other candidates pushed to the fore.

Voting, as simple as it seems, is not enough. It never was.

When I see the history of suffrage, especially as it pertains to people of color and women, I see a struggle to get the opportunity to vote for the right candidate as conscious citizens should. I also see movements that didn’t stop at the legislative house. Whatever your particular brand of activism is, let’s have it. Having Bill de Blasio as mayor (as with any candidate the people elect) won’t be enough to enact change. Voting is but the first step in a long line of things we do from voting period to voting period.

Congratulations to the de Blasios, and I’m ecstatic about the chance to see progressivism return to the city. Maybe every municipal worker in the city will finally get a renewed contract. Yet, I also know I can’t put my feet up now that Bloomberg’s out. The political process includes voting, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. For many of us, it’s just the beginning …


The Rock Says, "Do You Like Pi?"

The Rock Says, “Do You Like Pi?”

A few notes:

Quote of the Week:

Two things helped me break through. The first, being vouched for by someone in a position of power who had a relationship with someone else in a position of power. I met that person when costs of investment were low: I worked for David Carr at a rate of $100 dollars a week and ten cents a word for anything I published. The first summer I worked for him, I made $1,700. I did not consider myself underpaid. This was 1996. The New Republic had just told the world that black people had evolved to be stupid, and it seemed like every week they were saying something just as racist. I was at Howard University, surrounded by a community of brilliant black people, cut off from the Ivies. None of them had the contacts or the resources to reply. They just had to take it. I can’t tell you how much that angered me. I was made in that moment. And when I got my first break in writing, I didn’t think about being ripped off. I thought about whipping ass. I haven’t changed.

- Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, on writing “for free”. Worth the full read.


Why Learning Math Is Political

by Jose Vilson on October 23, 2012

in Jose

Paul Ryan Cartoon

For my own professional development, I picked up the book Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights by Robert Moses. The book equates the struggles Moses had with developing voter representations amongst the most underrepresented in the South with developing math knowledge / pedagogy into the curriculum in America’s classrooms. Observe:

So algebra, once solely in place as the gatekeeper for higher math and the priesthood who gained access to it, now is the gatekeeper for citizenship; and people who don’t have it are like the people who couldn’t read and write int he industrial age. But because of how access to – the learning of – algebra was organized in the industrial era, its place in society under the old jurisdiction, it has become not a barrier to college entrance, but a barrier to citizenship.

When people tell me that they weren’t born to do math, a small part of me wonders about the ramifications of any student who consistently tells themselves that they don’t have either the capacity or the potential to do any of the maths we learn in schools. Because of the changing economy, the entire way our communities view math needs to change.

Equally as important, we have to tell our communities that we can and will learn math.

See, the most dangerous thing about education is that it has the potential to dispense knowledge to others. When people actually learn about their histories, their legacies, and their worth on the planet, they become critical thinkers and agents for change.

It’s a small part of the reason why those of us who think critically seriously wonder if the confusion, bureaucracy and diminishing budgets in education serve to assure inequity rather than relieve it.

This is also why math is the answer. Governments, media, and corporations cloak their most important operations in advanced mathematics. We can no longer settle for our communities only getting the four operations. Unlike literacy, people generally consider math a subject that no one needs to master unless they’re a specialist of some nature. Yet, without a solid foundation of math, our most impoverished students have less options for their futures economically and politically.

We will do better.

Jose, who thanks each and every one of you for voting this as the best Latin@ Education Blog in all the land …


Why Teachers Are Political [A Rant]

March 5, 2012 Jose

I think it’s time for new political parties, and I mean it. After the debacle that was the release of teacher data reports, we saw a well-rated teacher say it’s crap, and a badly-rated teacher say it’s crap. Yet, the people chosen to represent “us” have yet to outright dismiss the multimillion dollar monster they […]

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This Writing Is Less of a Run, More Like a Dance

February 7, 2011 Jose

Someone recently asked me (and I’m omitting the person’s name because it wasn’t a public question): A quick question? Do you feel like you have to be “politically” correct when you write your posts? This type of writing? It’s less like a straight run or a drive down a road, and more like a dance. […]

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Unless They Don’t Want To Give Kids an Education [This Means War]

May 31, 2010 Jose
Kareem Rashad, the Soldier

A few months ago, I was privy to a conversation my fellow colleagues were having about the state of education, and how the government doesn’t evenly distribute funds to ensure a proper, equitable education for all. One of the colleagues then reasons, “Well, they may not really want to give certain kids an education. Someone […]

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