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 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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Posted Oct. 14, 2016

A Message to the NAACP on the Eve of Its Charter Vote: Black Families Want More School Choices

Black families support charter schools. That’s clear from a number of recent surveys on school choice. In the 2016 Education Next…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Sep. 8, 2016

Here’s Why I and Other Black Families Support Charter Schools

Most Black families support charter schools. It’s not because we’ve been duped, or that we’re “privatizers.” It’s because many of us…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Featured Posts

Posted Aug. 15, 2017

Everyone Is Entitled to an Opinion on Charter Schools But Parents Deserve the Final Say

Over the last year we’ve seen the NAACP come out forcefully against charter schools. We’ve seen the Trump administration support choice in ways that have…

By Lane Wright

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Posted Aug. 15, 2017

Every Book You Teach Is a Political Choice. Make It a Step Towards Social Justice.

At NNSTOY’s (National Network of State Teachers of the Year) conference last July, civil rights educator Sharif El-Mekki delivered a moving presentation that ended with…

By Topher Kandik

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Posted Aug. 14, 2017

Sure, You Hate Trump, But Can You Tell Your Students That?

Is it OK to hate the president? Yes. Is it OK to hate the president from the front of the classroom? That’s harder. As teachers…

By Tom Rademacher

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