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 July 19, 2021

Are Teachers Leaving Because of Pandemic Stress? It’s Complicated.

Plenty of news stories have raised concerns about mass teacher shortages due to pandemic stress. And it’s true that teachers, principals and district leaders have…

By Maureen Kelleher

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Posted July 26, 2021

At Freedom School Literacy Academy, Black Pride and Academic Achievement Go Hand-in-Hand

Erika Asikoye is the Director of the Freedom School Literacy Academy (FSLA) at The Center for Black Educator Development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The FSLA, for…

By Laura Waters

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Posted July 27, 2021

15 Questions That Predominantly White Schools Should Ask When Engaging in Non-Performative Anti-Racist Work

Last week, I had a consulting call with a potential client (a white teacher), who teaches in a predominantly white school/neighborhood and wants to engage…

By Kwame Sarfo-Mensah

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