Mathematics and the Path to Equity

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For mathematics can, on the one hand, be though of as an incredible lens through which to view the world; an important knowledge, available to all, that promotes empowered young people ready to think quantitatively about their work and lives and that is equitably available to all students through study and hard work.  On the other hand, mathematics can be thought of as a subject that separates children into those who can and those who cannot, and that is valuable as a sorting mechanism, allowing people to label some children as smart and others as not smart.

The Myth of the Mathematically Gifted Child

Some people, including some teachers, have built their identity on the idea they could do well in maths because they were special, genetically gifted in mathematics, and the whole “gifted” movement in the United States is built upon such notions.  But we have a great deal of evidence that although people are born with brain differences, such differences are eclipsed by the experiences people have during their lives, as every second presents opportunities for incredible brain growth. (Thompson, 2014; Wo0llett & Macquire, 2011)

Equitable Strategies

  1. Offer all students high-level content
  2. Work to change ideas about who can achieve in mathematics
  3. Encourage students to think deeply about mathematics
  4. Teach students to work together
  5. Give all students encouragement to learn maths and science
  6. Eliminate (or at least change the nature of) homework
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