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 Apr. 19, 2021

We Can’t Protect Our Students From Racism, But We Can Prepare Them to Combat and Reject It

On January 6, when an angry mob stormed the Capitol, I was in the middle of teaching my 7th grade English language arts students about…

By Travon Jefferson

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Posted Apr. 16, 2021

The Pandemic Is Exactly Why We Need Standardized Testing

In the next few weeks, nearly all school districts in the U.S. will offer at least some in-person instruction. The worst of the pandemic school…

By Evan Stone

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Posted Apr. 13, 2021

Meet Two Teachers Learning to Center Their Students’ Identities Without Losing Sight of Their Own

Lindsay Singer and Ashley McCall are both third grade teachers at Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago. Lindsay teaches mathematics and inquiry. And Ashley…

By Ikhlas Saleem

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