Dirk Tillotson

Blogger

Founder and Executive Director, Great School Choices

Oakland, California

Dirk Tillotson is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Great Schools Choices, which supports community-based charter school development and increasing access for underserved families. He has worked for over 20 years supporting mostly charter community schools in Oakland, New Orleans and New York City, and he’s even consulted on education issues in the Middle East.

As a child, his parents moved their family to a high-performing school district where they were the first Black family on the block. The challenges of that experience embedded in him a desire to create academically high-quality schools where students don’t have to check their identities at the door.

Dirk currently resides in Oakland, California, and blogs at Great School Voices.

RECENT POSTS

Posted Jan. 29, 2018

‘No Excuses’ Only Works When It Applies to the Adults in the School, Too

Many schools with strict discipline practice what they call a “no excuses” philosophy. The problem with many “no excuses” schools…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Oct. 16, 2017

Back to the Roots of the Charter School Movement

As a longtime believer in the possibility of charter schools, the so-called “charter movement” has been a disappointment. But last…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Aug. 2, 2017

2 Things the NAACP Got Right on Charter Schools

While I think there is a lot wrong with the NAACP’s look at charters, they did get two things right. One…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Apr. 12, 2017

Teachers, You Never Know What Students Are Going Through Outside The Classroom

This guest post is by an anonymous, Oakland-based educator. One time my mom tried to kill me. She chased me…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Mar. 24, 2017

Why I Feel Like ‘The Spook Who Sat by the Charter School Door’

I am the fly in the school reform buttermilk. An outsider, now marginally on the inside, trying to plot the…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Jan. 20, 2017

What The Atlantic Got Wrong About Charter Schools and Segregation

George Joseph’s article, What Betsy DeVos Didn’t Say About School Choice, claims that charter schools “have pushed more low-income, minority…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Jan. 11, 2017

Don’t Talk to Me About ‘Privatization,’ Because Your ‘Public’ School Is Hardly Public

In Oakland, one of the highest achieving schools in the city is Hillcrest Elementary. It’s a “public” school that is…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Dec. 16, 2016

It’s Never Been Harder to Be a Teacher and That’s Why We Need to Train Them Better

Teacher training in the U.S. has been a crapshoot. Because when you’re hiring first year teachers, sometimes you say “crap”…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Dec. 6, 2016

Oakland’s Kids Will Continue to Benefit From the Legacy of Superintendent Antwan Wilson

Late last month, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent Antwan Wilson was nominated to become the new school chief of D.C. Public Schools.…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Nov. 29, 2016

This Can Be the Biggest Change We See With More Unionized Charters: Getting Everyone Focused on Quality and Equity

Charters and unions are often seen as diametrically opposed. This isn’t really an accurate history.…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Featured Posts

Posted Apr. 19, 2018

It Doesn’t Just Happen at Starbucks. Teachers Need Racial Bias Training Too.

Last week, two Black men were arrested for sitting in a Starbucks here in Philadelphia. They were waiting for a friend who arrived shortly after…

By Zachary Wright 

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Posted Apr. 19, 2018

ICE Took My Students’ Parents Away

In my classroom there is a poster that says, “Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and never give up.” This poster is more than some…

By Derek Voiles

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Posted Apr. 18, 2018

Here’s How We’re Giving Rich, White Families a Stealth School Voucher

Rich, mostly White homeowners are officially on welfare. I know. I was as surprised as you are. But millions of affluent homeowners filed their taxes…

By ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson

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