Dr. Bettina Love, Teachers College, Columbia University
Bettina L. Love, Ph.D., is the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and author of the New York Times bestseller Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal.
Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of disrupting education reform and strengthening public education through abolitionist teaching, antiracism, Black joy, and educational reparations. Love’s scholarship is focused on advancing how the U.S. education field understands and critiques school reform and the systemic and structural racism of public education within the U.S.; and advocating for abolitionist approaches in the ﬁeld of education that seek new possibilities for eliminating educational harm.
In the pursuit of making her scholarship a reality, she works with activists, communities, youth, families, and school districts to build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in the aspirations of abolitionist strategies that love and aﬃrm Black and Brown children. Toward that end, in 2020, Love co-founded the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN), with a mission of developing and supporting teachers and parents to ﬁght injustice within their schools and communities.
To date, ATN has granted over $250,000 to abolitionists around the country. She is also the creator of the hip hop civics curriculum GET FREE. Love is also a founding member of the Old 4th Ward Economic Security Task Force with the Atlanta City Council. The task force works to bring guaranteed income and income stability to Black women residents living in Atlanta. In 2022, the Task Force launched the program In Her Hands, distributing more than $15 million. In Her Hands is one of the largest guaranteed income pilot programs in the U.S. As part of its 50th anniversary in 2022, the Kennedy Center named Love one of the “Next 50 Leaders” who are making the world a more inspired, inclusive, and compassionate place. She is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including abolitionist teaching, education reform, anti-racism, hip hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, educational reparations, hip hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion.
In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls. For her work in the ﬁeld of hip hop education, Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. In April of 2017, Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with late feminist icon bell hooks, focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children.
In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Love with a resolution for her impact on the ﬁeld of education. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets, including NPR, PBS, Education Week, The Guardian, and the Atlanta
She is also the author of the books We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Educational Researcher, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and the Journal of LGBT Youth.