Creating Balance in an Unjust World: Conference on Math Education & Social Justice

Friday, April 27th, El Puente Community Center-  Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, April 28-29th, Long Island University- Brooklyn, NY


Overview and Theme

    Join educators, parents, students, activists, and community members from around the country for a 3-day conference to explore the connections between math education and social justice. How has math literacy been a gatekeeper to future educational and financial success? How can math educators ensure equity in the classroom? How can issues of social, political, and economic justice be integrated into math curriculum? What is Ethnomathematics and how is it related to our work with students? These are a few of the many issues participants will have the opportunity to explore throughout conference.

Goals of the Conference

   1. Bring together educators, researchers, parents, activists, and students to discuss the connections between social justice and math education
   2. Foster new and innovative partnerships and collaborations
   3. Create a space to share resources, lesson plans, best practices, and other classroom materials
   4. Organize ongoing working groups around curriculum development, math education reform, etc. 

Who Should Attend?

    Youth of all ages who are concerned about their education, their future, their city, issues of social justice, etc
    Parents with concerns, questions, suggestions, or calls-to-action about their children's education
    Educators of all subjects and grade levels who are interested in social justice
    Activists interested in social justice and/or educational issues
    Community members and concerned citizens with ideas to share and questions to ask


    Mathematical literacy has long been a gatekeeper to higher learning opportunities due to the prevalence of high school exit exams, SAT tests, and college placement exams.   Math attainment has also been related to overall educational attainment and subsequent economic mobility.   Finishing a math course beyond Algebra II more than doubles the odds that a student will get a bachelor's degree, and in 2000 the median income of someone with a Bachelor's Degree was nearly twice that of someone with a high school diploma.   This becomes particularly relevant for educators in urban school systems such as New York City, where 64.8% of our students are eligible for free lunch and 85.7% are students of color.  

    In addition, the systemic and structural oppression of low income and people of color continues to worsen.   The number of people in prison continues to grow, as does our unemployment rate.   Billions of dollars that were once available for social programs and education have been diverted to paying for war.   Rents are skyrocketing, while affordable housing is becoming even more scarce.   Millions of people lack health insurance.   These problems and many others are being addressed by community organizations and activists, and often find their way into Social Studies and English classes.   However, in math classes around the country, perhaps the best places to study many of these issues, we continue to use curricula and models that lack any real-world - let alone socially relevant - contexts.   A great opportunity to help our young people understand and address these myriad issues continues to be lost.

    - U.S. Department of Education, Answers in the Toolbox: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns and Bachelor's Degree Attainment, 1999

About the host sites

    El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. Founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta, El Puente currently integrates the diverse activities and community campaigns of its Center for Arts and Culture and its Community Health and Environment Institute (CHE) within its three neighborhood Leadership Centers and its nationally recognized public high school, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally.

    Long Island University School of Education has a complete urban focus and prepares teachers, counselors, administrators, and school psychologists for the adventure of urban education. A strength of the LIU/Brooklyn School of Education is that many of their future and practicing educators are themselves urban dwellers, immigrants, or members of a wide variety of ethno-linguistic and racial groups. They bring to the University the experiential knowledge of diverse urban communities essential to educate the children and families in these communities.

> SPACE IS FILLED for the Friday Classroom Sessions & Friday night Kickoff Event.
We are working on solidifying more schools for people to visit. Stay tuned to the website for updates.
Keynote Speaker:

Bob Moses-- Founder, the Algebra Project
 Saturday, April 28th, 6pm
Sunday, April 29th, 9am

s. e. anderson (author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners" - Writers + Readers) +