A Note About the Fifth Year Anniversary of This Is Not A Test – Education Article

I wrote this book for you. For some of you, it means I wrote this in love. There’s always that first visit to the local bookstore when we scan the education section and don’t see a book that tangentially relates to your qualms and visions. Most of the narrative-based books are written by professors, ex-educators, celebrities, and wunderkinds with a connection to a highly visible outlet for their story. The ones written by actual classroom teachers – the very few…

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Thanks For Coming To My TED Talk (For The Culture) – Education Article

I’m so proud to share my most recent TED talk about teacher voice with the world for various reasons: I talked about my family (shouts to Luz and Alejandro!) I talked about my own classroom and students (shouts to last year’s 801-803 in the video) I shouted out #EduColor (We really outchea!) I concretized the definition of teacher voice (Please share it widely) I shared screen shots of my teacher evaluations with the world (“No weapon formed against me shall…

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MLK’s Work Precedes Us And, With Resilience, Lives After [Medium] – Education Article

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit live at Riverside Church to watch a spirited conversation between writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and newly minted congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For a little less than an hour, TNC and AOC spoke up and around the current state of affairs, rarely mentioning the person working from 1600 Pennsylvania. Ocasio-Cortez has seemingly busted open the Overton window for progressives, deftly maneuvering conservative talking points and offering no apologies. Coates, no stranger to heavy critiques from across…

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You Don’t Have To Lie (Hire More Black Teachers, Maybe) – Education Article

On Friday, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NYC with student activists Xoya David and Joshua Brown and writer-friend-luminary Nikole Hannah-Jones. When I got the invite from Brian Jones, I was in the midst of finishing one of my more triumphant performances in service of the profession. I was also shaking off the uncertainties of having a teacher improvement plan the prior school year. I’m holding the…

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For New York City To Love Us Back [Teaching and Living Here] – Education Article

Question of the century: how do we create a profession that we can love and can love us back? These ideas aren’t diametrically opposed, but they’re worth considering in the largest school district in the nation. The New York City I grew up in has changed in trajectory and culture, but not in its uncanny ability to amplify one’s aspirations. It’s cool to make fun of New York culture now that gentrification and social media have diluted our symbols, but…

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Take All The Space You Need (For Now) – Education Article

It was a humid summer afternoon. I ventured with my son to a few stores along East 86th Street, enjoying parts of the city we don’t normally venture. I wore a black and orange Free Minds Free People shirt, my young one a white t-shirt and shorts. The sidewalks felt like people were walking shoulder to shoulder, two steps slower than their normal pace. As we made our way up 3rd Avenue to Harlem, an elder white woman in a…

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What You’re Not Gonna Do [Vox] – Education Article

This weekend, I’ve spent the majority of my Internet time swatting detractors of my latest piece on Vox about the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Here, an excerpt: Essentially, these schools enshrined into law the right to ignore school performance, grades, interviews, standardized state exams, or any other qualification in favor of a test that rarely aligns with the standards they learn in school, tacitly keeping these schools out of reach for under-resourced students and schools. The specialized high…

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Teaching Intolerance – Education Article

You’re not even supposed to be this public. You stood out in a space that was 80% people of color. Your scruff and leather coat belied your notoriety. The managers and custodians stopped mopping to whisper to their co-workers as you passed by with the tacky cell phone pose. New York natives know not to gawk at people we’ve seen on TV, regardless of our perception about them. “Famous people” generally stroll through our city with little interruption from those…

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Where We Belong | The Jose Vilson – Education Article

When I first attended the annual National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference, it took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’d never been to SLC, but the burgers were good, the company was cool, and Malcolm Gladwell was the opening keynote speaker. I was only a few years into teaching, but the carnival of math education aficionados drew me in. The names that influenced so many of our professional development sessions and textbooks came to life in their workshops…

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An Open and Extended Response (On Testing Season) – Education Article

I laid my lesson plans on top of the roller tray. I pulled off my “problem of the moment” off my printer and put scissors on top of them. I turned on my Promethean board and connected the AppleTV to it. I pulled out my iPad mini and turned to the released questions from the New York State math test for both 7th and 8th grades year 2017. I flipped quickly to the extended responses as shown on my lesson…

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On Creativity and The Stories Our Schools Tell Themselves – Education Article

Around each March, a few students say they can do my job better than me. At the end of the year, I let them mock the adults in the building for a bit before they graduate to high school. A few years ago, however, I decided to flip that challenge and gave them a lesson plan template to work from. They were interested in how they could get their class to learn. They’d create whole poster boards for their lessons…

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A Book That Tells Teachers How To Talk About Race. No, Really. [Not Light But Fire] – Education Article

Recently, a conversation flared up on Twitter. (That last sentence has become the new “a guy walks into the bar …” for online education activists, but more soon, maybe.) Mind you, at the end of 2017, I set a goal to minimize how many arguments I’d get into on Twitter in 2018, but I must have missed the fine print when I signed on that platform because I failed hard. Most folks have an argument on Twitter and get over it…

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Keep That Same Energy, Tho [2018 and Beyond] – Education Article

“So what year are you?” I hesitated. In circles like these, I’m usually the odd person out. People probably ask themselves qualification questions privately, as well. On any given day, I can represent the 3.6 million teachers of America, the 20% of teachers who identify as nonwhite, the 2% of Black male teachers, the 1% of Latinx male teachers, or just me. I’m usually invited to have the race conversation because that’s the necessary one, but sometimes, I rather have…

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