Work and Life with Stew Friedman


Ep 178. Howard Stevenson: Racial Literacy

Dr. Howard Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stevenson is Executive Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC) at Penn, a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods. He is also the Director of Forward Promise, a national program office funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides philanthropic support for organizations designed to improve the health of boys and young men of color and their families, and to help them heal from the trauma of historical and present-day dehumanization, discrimination, and colonization. Since 1985, Dr. Stevenson has served as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country. 

In this episode, Stew and Howard discuss the subtle, sometimes unintended or even unconscious ways by which we communicate about race, especially to our children.  Howard draws on his personal history and his experience as a clinical psychologist, educator, and negotiator, in vividly describing his method of teaching racial literacy -- a systematic approach that helps people learn how to read, recast, and resolve racially tinged episodes.  He also demonstrates key elements of his method with Stew as his subject, which takes our host back 58 years to an incident in his fifth grade class in a Brooklyn public school. 

Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation.  Reach back into your history and recount a story in which you experienced a racial conflict, however subtle, using the tools Howard used in working with Stew in this episode to help you make sense of what happened with the benefit of hindsight.  What do you discover that you can apply now and in the future?  Write to Stew to let him know, at, or connect with him on LinkedIn.  While you’re at it, share your thoughts with him on this episode and your ideas for people you’d like to hear on future shows.  

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Ep 215. Ulcca Joshi Hansen: The Future of Smart

Ulcca Joshi Hansen, a researcher and education advocate, is the author of The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive. Ulcca believes each young person deserves the chance to discover their unique potential, and to explore what that means for how they contribute to the world. She explores the disconnect between what we want for our children, what we value, and what our education system is actually providing. She’s a mother of two and a former elementary teacher who has worked in education for two decades. She is herself an English as a second language learner and a first generation college graduate. Ulcca is the Chief Program Officer at Grantmakers for Education, the nation's largest and most diverse network of education grant makers dedicated to improving educational outcomes and increasing opportunities for all learners. She has a BA in philosophy, a PhD from the University of Oxford, and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has been recognized nationally for her leadership as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a British Marshall Scholar, and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.In this episode, Stew talks with Ulcca about what we want our children to learn and what they are actually being taught in our schools. We discuss what it means to be “smart” in today’s in today’s complex world -- and in tomorrow’s -- and how the educational system we have had for centuries has to change. Ulcca describes what we can do to make the necessary changes, as parents, business leaders, policy makers, and citizens.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode. Have a conversation with anyone you know about how a more holistic approach to education would make our nation stronger, better prepared to meet the challenges the next generation will face. Share your reactions to this episode and your suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.