George Lucas Educational Foundation

José Vilson

Middle school math teacher and coach

José Luis Vilson is a math educator for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York. He’s also a committed writer, activist, web designer, and father. His first solo project, This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and the Future of Education, was published by Haymarket Books. He was also recently inducted into the Math for America Master Fellowship, cohort 2014. He currently serves as a board member on the Board of Directors for the Center for Teaching Quality. He writes regularly for Edutopia, and has contributed to The New York Times,, Education Week, Huffington Post, and El Diario / La Prensa NY.

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  • Education Equity

    EduColor: Having the Deeper Conversations Online

    Jose Vilson of EduColor, a movement and platform for educational equity and justice, discusses strategies for elevating the voices of public school advocates of color.
  • Common Core

    The Common Core Debate: One Teacher Vs. The Experts

    Perhaps the most authoritative voices on the Common Core's effectiveness should be those of veteran teachers with hands-on experience about how students learn.
  • Teacher Leadership

    Full-Time Comeback: A Reflection

    Returning full-time to the classroom, one teacher reflects on trading his influence within the school community for making a daily difference in his students' lives.
  • Education Equity

    Empowering Educators Through Cultural Competence

    We're teaching students, not just curriculum, so cultural competence should equal professional competence, especially with students who don't share our background or level of privilege.
  • Assessment

    The Biggest Lie Students Tell Me (and How to Turn It Around)

    Edutopia blogger Jose Vilson believes his students are lying when they claim inability to understand, and he offers three strategies to help them get past this erroneous statement.
  • Alternative Scheduling

    Less Is More: The Value of a Teacher's Time

    Teachers could become more effective with their students if they had more time outside of class for planning instruction and grading student work.
  • Teaching Strategies

    How to Teach Kids About Factoring a Polynomial

    Jose Vilson challenges the frequently taught method for factoring polynomials with an example that demonstrates why he's such a highly regarded middle school math teacher.
  • New Teachers

    Building a Positive, Trusting Classroom Environment

    Teacher and blogger Jose Vilson shares three suggestions for building a positive, trusting classroom environment.
  • Student Engagement

    Engaging Students in Math

    Blogger and teacher Jose Vilson advocates for math literacy and suggests ways in which teachers can make this easier for their students.
  • Technology Integration

    Rethinking How We Use Calculators

    Math teacher and coach Jose Vilson weighs the pros and cons of calculator use as an enhancement or impediment to student understanding.
  • Education Equity

    Math as a Social Justice Lever

    Some suggest going easy on kids who'd rather drop out than study math, yet math remains an essential life tool across racial, gender, and class lines.
  • New Teachers

    Cheat Sheet for the First Days of School

    Jose Vilson suggests three simple habits to ease teachers' transition from summer vacation to the start of a new school year.
  • Diversity

    3 Strategies for Authentic Race, Class, and Gender Discussions

    When discussing potentially divisive issues, create an environment that supports agreement, guide the conversation with thoughtful questions, and actively listen to what others say.
  • Teacher Leadership

    What Teacher Leadership Looks Like for the New School Year

    Teacher and blogger Jose Vilson looks at what 21st century teacher leadership involves and breaks it down into four simple but essential steps for starting a new school year in this role.
  • Education Trends

    Why Mathematical Practices Matter as Much as the Content

    Edutopia blogger Jose Vilson suggests that, when teaching match content, it's equally important to develop a wider skillset for understanding and using it.

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