José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist in New York City, NY. He is the author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, and has spoken about education, math, and race for The New York Times, Education Week, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, Edutopia, GOOD, and El Diario / La Prensa, NY.

We’re now asked to stop scaring children in our classrooms when we see new cabinet nominees speaking directly to dismantling our social safety net.

America generally applauds disruption in the name of speaking truth to power. But, apparently, it depends on who is doing the disrupting.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASecretary_Arne_Duncan_Visits_New_York%2C_Discusses_American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_01.jpg

Over 10,000 parents, students, and educators demanding an end to education inequality. Sounds good, right?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cerdec/9522771835

A typical 8th English language learner takes 1 standardized test a week from early April through mid-June...

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Classroom filled with garbage

Want to implement a new policy? Tell them it’s for the kids. Need to raze an entire school in a densely populated school district? Preface it with “We did it for the kids.” Image credit: Paul Smith

Let me lay out the argument and the reason why, instead of referring to myself as anti-testing, I’m calling myself pro-whole-child.

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Activists say no wall can be built that will keep them from standing together for immigration reform.

In this 1963 letter from his Birmingham jail cell Martin Luther King Jr. pushed back against the idea that civil...

From drone strikes against Americans overseas to broad surveillance powers to indefinite detention, Obama certainly...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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