Bianca J. Baldridge is an associate professor of education with expertise in community-based education and critical youth work practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a sociologist of education, Baldridge’s research explores the sociopolitical context of community-based youth work and critically examines the confluence of race, class, and gender and their impact on educational reforms that shape community-based spaces engaging Black and Latinx youth. In addition, she explores the organizational and pedagogical practices employed by youth workers amid educational reforms and restructuring.
Baldridge’s book, Reclaiming Community: Race and the Uncertain Future of Youth Work (Stanford University Press), examines how racialized market-based reforms undermine Black community-based organizations’ efforts to support comprehensive youth development opportunities. Her book received the 2019 American Educational Studies Association Critic’s Choice Book Award. With the support of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship program, Baldridge studied how racial disparity discourse shapes community-based spaces that engage Black youth in predominantly white cities that espouse a liberal and progressive ethos. Her current research examines 1) broader issues of equity facing the out-of-school time (OST) sector nationally, 2) the precarity of the youth work profession and how Black youth workers navigate anti-Blackness, and 3) how Black community-based youth organizations respond to city change and displacement fueled by gentrification, educational restructuring, and displacement.
Some of Baldridge’s research appears in American Educational Research Journal, Review of Research in Education, Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, and Race, Ethnicity, and Education. In addition, Baldridge’s experiences as a youth work professional in US cities and abroad continue to inform her research in profound ways. With a deep commitment to engaged research and disrupting oppressive youth development spaces, Baldridge works with several OST networks and facilitates ‘communities of practice’ with organizational leaders and youth development professionals across the country to sustain justice-oriented and humanizing youth work practices.