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. 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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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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Featured Posts

Posted Aug. 7, 2020

James Baldwin’s ‘Talk to Teachers’ Is Just as Relevant Today

As I sit here, processing my thoughts on the severity of events that are currently grappling our nation, I reflect on the historical circumstances that…

By Jorge Santos

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Posted Aug. 3, 2020

Today Should Have Been Our First Day of School

For 14 years I have taught math at the same high school. The entirety of my career—three thousand students, eighty classes, 13 preps, five rooms,…

By Jay Wamsted

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Posted Aug. 6, 2020

White Teachers, Our Whiteness Is Getting in Our Way

Since the murder of George Floyd, teacher leaders across America have sought to prove the necessity of antiracism in public education. And rightly so: from…

By Tate Aldrich

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