Kevin Adams and Gerardo Muñoz basically had to be friends. The only Black and Brown teachers in their school, respectively, they knew that they were meant to be BFFs when their former student Ella began to matchmake. They were working at different schools at the time.
Before they knew it, they had met and would laugh, yell, cry, complain and hype each other up to teach another day in *they* schools. Race, Power, and Education have always mingled since the foundation of this country, but Kev and Gera seek to remix the conversation about it. Give us a listen!
Blaxodus: Branta Lockett, the 5280 Freedom School, Exit Interview 10
Branta Lockett moved through her educational odyssey at the highest levels. W.E.B. DuBois would have absolutely drafted her for his Talented Tenth All Star Team. Highly Gifted and Talented, International Baccalaureate, Brown University, she brought her sterling credentials to Denver, hoping to be the difference for all students, especially Black students.
Her first two years as a Denver teacher were, simply put, "great." But by year three, things began to unravel. She witnessed disproportionate disciplinary actions taken against Black boys. Still new to the work, she became a voice of advocacy for students and community. Her evaluation scores took a jarring dip. She changed roles, and found no support in any of them. Between COVID-19 and anti-Black dynamics within the union, she took the leap.
The 5280 Freedom School, inspired by the Civil Rights era's Mississippi Freedom Schools, launched first as a summer program. After having their charter initially rejected, they are poised to open their doors in "Harlem of the West," the Five Points neighborhood.
This story is at once a cautionary tale and a call to action. Learn more at www.5280freedomschool.com; follow them on socials @5280freedomschool.
Check out our partners quetzalec.com.
Bonus Episode! Teachers of the Year Raise Our Voices for Honest Education
Dishonesty in education policy is not a new thing. From the criminalization of Black education to the arrests and trials of the East LA 13 to now, individuals from historically marginalized, oppressed, and excluded communities have received the message that our histories, our contributions, and our humanness are not welcome in our schools.
A few months ago Monica Washington (2014 Texas Teacher of the Year), Tracey Nance (2020/2021 Georgia Teacher of the Year), Chris Dier (2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year), Takeru Nagayoshi (2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year), and I were invited to participate in the Voices for Honest Education Fellowship. We were deployed as voices for and with educators to combat fear-based education gag orders and book bans. Initially, the manufactured uproar over Critical Race Theory was the pressure point that bad actors located. As this strategy foundered, they turned their attention to LGBTQ students, teachers, and communities. We know that these bad actors are a fringe minority, but, unfortunately, they represent the tail that has wagged multiple dogs at the state and local levels. While it may be easy to dismiss them as a small group that doesn't represent all Americans, they have successfully removed teachers, curriculum, and books from K-12 schools. One need look no further than Florida to see what happens when a small group gets the attention of an ambitious politician.
We sat down to discuss our work, and to invite you into the struggle. Find more information by finding Voices for Honest Education on all social media platforms. Read our blog, attend our events, and let us know how it's going in your space.
2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year Jimmy Day II!
In October 2022, Aurora Public Schools middle school band teacher Jimmy Day II was named Colorado Teacher of the Year. He became the first Black male to receive the honor, as well as the first graduate of a Historically Black College or University to be named Colorado Teacher of the Year.
Gerardo was onhand to witness the historical event, and got to sit down with this creative, passionate, and brilliant teacher. We defy you to listen to his story and resist him.
Habitually Disruptive 23: Decolonize with Maribel González
I discovered Maribel González's terrific @decolonizeinstruction account on Instagram, and was absolutely inspired by the ideas she shares there. A Native Xicana educator and Unschool Mama, she authored the books Social Justice and You, Be Your True Self, Build Strong Communities, Be a Changemaker and Choose Justice, she has also served as Director at the Center for Intergenerational Learning and National Faculty at PBL Works.
We sat down this past fall to discuss her ideas and insights on identity, the arts, and decolonizing for our communities.
108. New Year, New Dopeness
It's been a season of change in #TooDope Nation! With Gerardo firmly entrenched in the dark side, and Kev still holdin down the block, it was past time to catch up. In this episode, we catch up on the work we're doing, talk about these education streets, and make some resolutions for 23.
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Want great abolitionist PD for your community, school, or district? Check out Quetzal Education Consulting.
The Exit Interview 09. Coming Back Different with Jacci Cradle
Jacci tells us her story of coming full circle. With her love for whom we in education consider as "littles," she tells her journey as a childcare center owner who, with a heart for doing more for her community, begins her work as a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director in a Denver Metro Area organization. Listen in as Jacci describes her story and advice for Black folks in the early learning space.
Excellent Teacher Podcast
I am a white middle aged middle class teacher who teaches ESOL. I find a lot to love in this podcast.
I’m in love with this Podcast
Finally a podcast for BIPOC educators. It’s a lonely world out here and it’s good to know my feelings are valid and felt by other educators! Keep those exit interviews coming!
Powerful, poignant, necessary
Love Too Dope Teachers and a Mic! Kevin and Gerardo bring conversations about education, through a critical lens, to the world, with deep experience as male teachers of color in a world where that makes you (unfortunately) a bit of a unicorn. Keep up the great work fellas! And to everyone out there, subscribe now. You won’t be disappointed ✊🏿✊🏽✊🏾✊🏻