Malika Ali joined hosts Jessica Pfeiffer and Steve Graner for Episode 49 of Education Suspended, a podcast focused on exploring, engaging, and dialoguing with those in education who are passionate about changing the status quo and evolving the archaic system we have inherited.
The podcast explores Malika’s transgenerational story, which is rooted in the pursuit of education and drives her own desire to empower students. Malika discusses the importance of instruction that is relevant to students and curriculum that provides both windows and mirrors — for students to see themselves in lessons and better understand how they fit into the world.
from the episode
“Relevance is about: 1) Not just having the learning be abstract; and 2) Not just centered on dominant groups…We have everyone look at their curriculum, audit it for relevance, see does it affirm student identities and elevate non-dominant perspectives, and create space for students to have the windows (to see other cultures and ways of being) and mirrors (to see themselves reflected in the curricula).”– Malika Ali, Episode 49: Windows and Mirrors, Education Suspended Podcast
How to Design More Equitable Schools
“I believe that communities have the power and capacity within them to successfully and effectively solve whatever challenges come up. We need to build the spaces for them to collaborate, to learn, to design, to do, and to lead. The more those spaces exist, the more we see innovative, relevant, meaningful change happen for school communities by school communities. I love that concept of ‘nothing about us without us’. So we never want to be coming in saying ‘this is what people should do’. We can come in and bring resources, tools, research, and support. We can empower and provide spaces of learning and in facilitating that, find that the brilliance is there – and it’s always been there. People just want the spaces to talk.”– Malika Ali
Malika is passionate about community-driven change management to scale and sustain culturally responsive education driven by a liberatory data approach. As the Chief Innovation Officer at Highlander Institute, she leads program visioning articulated through a comprehensive model for school change. She was a Rhode Island District Teacher of the Year, served on Governor Raimondo’s STEAM and Equity in Educator Preparation Committee, and was named one of the nation’s top emerging and inspirational Black leaders in education innovation by Learn Launch. Malika holds an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Public Health from Brown University.
As a daughter of strong and brilliant Eritrean refugees, Malika has spent her life critiquing the systems that perpetuate educational inequity, and she is proud to be a part of the struggle to ensure that all children have access to, and can take advantage of, an empowering education.