44 – Identity-Affirming Curriculum for Black Youth (w Kaya Henderson)

Natalie Vardabasso#EduCrush Podcast

“Strong people engage with strong people. If you know your history and your culture, and I don’t know mine, then we can’t engage on an even plane.” - Kaya Henderson Click To Tweet

Traditional curriculum does not situate Black youth in a positive light and Kaya Henderson is on a quest to do something about it. Kaya is perhaps best known for serving as Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010-2016 and as the co-host of “Pod Save the People” podcast. Now, she is the co-founder and CEO of Reconstruction, a technology company delivering a K-12 supplemental curriculum that situates Black people, culture, and contributions in an authentic, identity-affirming way. In episode 44, she connects with Natalie to discuss the misconceptions about culturally-responsive teaching and how removing the barriers of the school system can unlock passion and joy.

Show Notes:

  • The need for caucusing in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. (2:30)
  • Why Kaya is unapologetically Black. (7:40)
  • How the traditional curriculum doesn’t situate Black children in a positive light and how Reconstruction is offering a different perspective. (9:20)
  • Playing an inside-outside game to change the school system. (13:10)
  • The teaching job is the most resistant to change and people are starting to demand more meaningful and manageable work. (17:20)
  • An identity-affirming national Black curriculum. (19:30)
  • Misconceptions exist about culturally-responsive teaching in a predominantly white teaching force. (22:55)
  • The underrepresented period in American history called “Reconstruction” which is a narrative of Black excellence and the namesake of Kaya’s company. (26:35)
  • Being liberated from the school system ignites creativity and curiosity. (31:40)
  • Co-creating curriculum with a team of “reconstructors” who are passionate about the mission and experts at creating a culture of belonging. (36:35)
  • Reimagining education to be more flexible and indulge the passions of students. (42:25)
  • The purpose of education. (45:00)

View full show notes here!

Kaya on Twitter: @HendersonKaya

Email the Podcast: hello@educrushpod.com

Podcast on Twitter: @educrushpod

Natalie on Twitter: @natabasso

Podcast on Instagram: @educrushpod

Podcast Website: www.educrushpod.com