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 Dec. 14, 2020

Better Late Than Never, OUSD Commits to Housing on Unused Properties

In California, growing numbers of school districts are putting their vacant land and buildings to work to house vulnerable students…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Dec. 4, 2020

How Low Will Standards Go for Underserved Parents? Oakland Families Are About to Find Out.

“My baby wants to go to Stanford,” an irate grandmother told me, “and this is what they give me.” She sent…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Aug. 4, 2020

Some Kids Need a Brick and Mortar School. I Know Because I Was One of Them.

The most terrifying and dangerous experiences I had as a child were at home. I am not alone. My mother…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted May 28, 2020

Without Internet Access, Our Most Vulnerable Children Are Locked Outside the Digital Schoolhouse Door

Philadelphia’s problem is America’s problem. If you want to go to school, see a doctor, apply for a job, enroll…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Mar. 28, 2019

Haifa Was Forced to Choose Between Her Faith and School, She Chose Faith

There are students who admire the change and influence of great women in history. And then there are students who…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted Sep. 5, 2018

14 Percent of Your Students Have an Actual Plan to Commit Suicide

Fourteen percent of your students have a suicide plan. Thirty-one percent report suicidal thoughts, but 14 percent of them actually…

By Dirk Tillotson

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Posted June 6, 2018

America Promises Equal Opportunity But It’s a Complete Lie

Schools are where we’re supposed to find equal opportunity. Instead we find a sorting system that magnifies inequality. In fact,…

By Dirk Tillotson

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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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Featured Posts

Posted Jan. 26, 2021

We Need To Know if the Biden Administration Is Really With and For Us

Before taking a much needed vacation at the end of last year, I wrote a piece talking about how education for Black kids cannot look…

By Tanesha Peeples

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Posted Jan. 27, 2021

AOC Is Tutoring a First Grader

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is highlighting an old, but never out of fashion, kind of public service: Tutoring kids.  The second-term congresswoman tweeted that…

By Rob Samuelson

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Posted Jan. 26, 2021

Families Have School Options, We Just Don’t Spell Them Out in Plain English

Over my 15 years of working in education, I have grown to appreciate that parents are far more savvy, knowledgeable, and resourceful than policy wonks…

By Andrew Campanella

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