State of our Schools (feat. Educator Jose Vilson)

Welcome to the latest episode of the Royal State of Mind Podcast! On today’s show, I am joined by Jose Vilson.

Vilson is a long-time math educator in New York City. Jose is also an activist, writer, blogger, web designer, father, and his acclaimed book (“This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and the Future of Education“) was published in 2014. He is also the executive director of EduColor, a cooperative of “educators, parents, students, writers and activists” who “seek to elevate the voices of public school advocates of color on educational equity and justice.”

Vilson and I had an expansive and wide-ranging conversation centered around schools, education, pedagogy, and students. In our discussion, among numerous other topics, Vilson shares his views on teaching for transformation within rigid school structures, comments on charter schools, speaks about the importance of culturally-relevant pedagogy and what it resembles, and how he engages his students. We spoke for almost an hour, yet by the end there was still so much more to analyze and dissect.

Here are a few moments from our conversation that particularly stand out to me:

  • 8 minutes 24 seconds Jose speaks on tokenization within his schools as a student.
  • 14 minutes 9 seconds How does Jose reach all the kids in his class, understanding the vastness of the structure of school?
  • 22 minutes 14 seconds Reactions from other teachers about Jose’s teaching style.
  • 24 minutes 31 seconds How does Jose create culturally-relevant spaces in his classroom within a school system that discredits his teaching style?
  • 28 minutes 5 seconds White teachers and their approach (or lack thereof) to culturally-relevant pedagogy.
  • 36 minutes 33 seconds What does ‘success’ look like with your students?
  • 40 minutes 27 seconds Charter schools & public schools.
  • 46 minutes 6 seconds The million dollar question.