Month: December 2020

Encore! Dr. Bettina L. Love at NEA #EdJustice 2020

This past summer, Kevin and I had the privilege, the blessing, the amazing opportunity to be a part of the National Education Association’s Justice Summer Camp. Our partnership with NEA on the issue of educational justice has been a thrilling two-year experience, and we must thank the amazing Shilpa and Stephanie for coordinating for us and connecting us to dope educators, thinkers, and artists who are out here doing this work.

When we learned that we had been selected to interview Dr. Bettina Love, author of We Want to do More than Just Survive and Hip Hop’s Lil Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities, we about lost our minds. Her revolutionary work around Abolitionist Pedagogy has represented a tipping point for us in the last year, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and her work has guided us in this turbulent school year.

When Dr. Love addressed the topic of schools’ role in the spirit murder of Black children, Kevin responded with a call for us as teachers to be spirit HEALERS, eliciting a cheer from Dr. Love. That has remained our call as we have navigated this year, and we are so grateful to Dr. Love for her work and spiritual guidance. ALSO we are so grateful for her top five!

79. Semester Finale! Mama, We Made It!

We have arrived at the most anticipated winter break in the history of public education! We have a lot on our minds, and a lot to decompress; thankfully, we have our nation of toodope therapists to listen and not judge us! In this episode, the final episode of 2020, we discuss lessons we have learned, both school-related and otherwise, during this year, we discuss the importance of healing, and make some resolutions for the new school year. In fact, this year has taken such a toll that Kevin even tries to convince Gerardo to freestyle and, well, you’re just gonna have to listen to the show to hear what happened.

We love you all, and are so appreciative of your support this year. We have made major strides in this of all years because of you!

78. Trauma-Informed and Anti-Racist with Emily Santiago of the Center for Cognitive Diversity

Gerardo flies solo this week, as Kevin attends to family business, as Emily Santiago of the Center for Cognitive Diversity breaks down the urgency of trauma informed practice and antiracism in schools. After beginning her career as a Montessori teacher, Emily discovered that providing true social/emotional support was her true calling. As the executive director of the Center, she and her team have provided important programming for whole school communities, including adult staff, who also deserve the lens of trauma informed praxis. This episode is a must-listen in these anxious and stress-inducing times.

77. They Don’t Know Who We Be: Evaluations and BIPOC Teachers

The DMX episode…

December is nearing the halfway point, and we get together to talk about our continuing (unending?) COVID-19 experience. Despite all that has changed in school and system accountability practice, teachers in many states will still be evaluated this semester, and this year.

Evaluations are a loaded and emotional experience for all teachers, but the biases and assumptions that BIPOC teachers, especially Black teachers, have even more dire consequences. We sit down and discuss a number of studies regarding the evaluations and teachers of color, and call upon administrators, coaches, and other teacher evaluators to recognize the fraught situation that is the yearly appraisal.

It comes down to the lyrics of DMX’s “Who We Be,” because for many teachers of color, their leaders don’t know…who we be. Take heed: this disruptive episode will ask you to re-think how you coach your teachers in general, but especially your teachers of color.

A special thank you to our Hella Dope Patrons, Jackie Parkins, Bram Hubbell, Ryan Sullivan, Matt Busch, Asia Lyons, Natalie Shaffer, and Jill Boyd Meyers, as well as Kelsey Gray, whose donations alone make each episode possible. Thank you.

Encore! Boots Riley!

This week we revisit our memorable session with the incredible and real Boots Riley, who breaks down artistic expression, social justice, community organizing, hip hop, and education from the 2019 Revolutionary Summer Mixtape!