EduShyster interviewed Jose Luis Vilson, New York City teacher and blogger, about his new book, “This Is Not a Test.”

Vilson has woven together the story of his own life with narratives about his students and classroom experiences. My impression, when I read his book, is that he has a fresh voice, a style all his own, and a compelling way of bringing together issues and personal stories.

In response to a question, Vilson says he is determined to be hopeful, no matter what is thrown his way. Frankly, anyone who could survive the harsh Bloomberg years is a determined optimist. EduShyster asks about his optimism, and he replies, “The way I look at it, there’s really no choice. Educators need, NEED to have some kind of hope because otherwise we’re powerless. Once we start to feel less hopeful, that fire we start out with gets extinguished. I do have pessimism and skepticism as drivers but I always have optimism right next to me because I’m always hoping things will get better. Our kids are our driving force. If you don’t have the kids you teach in mind, then why be hopeful? If you’re teaching as a career, than optimism is the way to go.”

Simply opposing the current reform movement with all its flaws is insufficient, he says. We must have a vision for the future that is far better than “the good old days,” which weren’t good at all for many people. That new vision must be far more inclusive than in the past, especially for those at the margins of society.

In her last question, Edushyster posed this challenge:

“ES: For those who like their wisdom distilled into bite-sized 140 character portions, you’re also quite a presence on Twitter. Here’s a challenge for you. Can you boil down the central argument of your book into a single Tweet?

JV: *It’s not about the salary; it’s all about reality.*