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 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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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 Oct. 14, 2019

She Has a Plan for Everything, So Where Is Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for K-12 Education?

I love a woman with a plan! And, Senator Warren, it seems like you have a plan for just about everything. There are currently 50…

By Lisa Hollenbach

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Posted Oct. 9, 2019

Fellow Black Parents, It’s Time to Break the Silence About Our Kids With Disabilities

My mom and society have taught me that it is rude to offer advice when no one asks for it. But Black folks aren’t talking about…

By ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson

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Posted Oct. 11, 2019

Time for Democrats to Recognize the Progressive Roots of Charter Schools

Listening to the rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidates, one would think charter schools were a Republican initiative opposed by all progressives. Bernie Sanders calls for a…

By Emily Langhorne, David Osborne

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