Carnegie Math Pathways Forms Social Justice Curriculum Group
Carnegie Math Pathways has been a purveyor of relevant and engaging mathematics curriculum since its inception, empowering even the most math-averse students to use statistics and quantitative reasoning to examine matters in their everyday lives. It is in this spirit of relevance and developing deeper mathematical reasoning skills that Carnegie Math Pathways is forming a Social Justice Curriculum Group within the larger Pathways Curriculum Committee.
“We are forming this group so that students can use mathematics as a tool for reasoning critically about the world around them in a much more focused way,” says Ann Edwards, Director of Learning and Teaching at Carnegie Math Pathways. The group will imbue a more robust level of intentionality into brand new Pathways lessons that illustrate the power of math in creating a more equitable society.
“We are forming this group so that students can use mathematics as a tool for reasoning critically about the world around them in a much more focused way.”
This new group is a prime illustration of what it means to participate in the Pathways Networked Improvement Community (NIC), namely the opportunity to collaborate with faculty across the country to develop math curriculum that students find relevant and compelling. One member of the group, Paul Verschueren, says, “Currently, our curriculum offers great examples using real data, but it could use a wider range of contexts appealing to more students and the issues they care most about.”
“Math is the mechanism by which we discover unfettered, unbiased, raw truth. A focus on rote procedures in mathematics courses neglects this beauty.”
Another member of the group, Yolanda Manzano says, “Math is the mechanism by which we discover unfettered, unbiased, raw truth. A focus on rote procedures in mathematics courses neglects this beauty.”
The immediate goals of the group are to establish a mutual definition of social justice and equity in mathematics as well as to develop four new Statway and Quantway (for a total of eight) lessons by July 21, when the lessons will be introduced at the 2017 Carnegie Math Pathways National Forum. At the Forum, NIC faculty will be invited to test the lessons in the 2018-2019 academic year with ongoing support provided by the group.
The inaugural members of the group include Maria Alzugaray of LaGuardia Community College, Leslie Buck of SUNY Suffolk County Community College, Jamylle Carter of Diablo Valley College, Yolanda Manzano of Richland College, Paul Verschueren of Seattle Central Community College, and Ann Edwards, Scott Strother, and John Kellermeier of Carnegie Math Pathways.
Click through the image slider below to learn more about why each member joined the Social Justice Curriculum Group, and what they hope to accomplish together.
Maria Alzugaray, LaGuardia Community College
“I am interested in writing curriculum in general and writing lessons that can have social impact in particular. I hope to write lessons that are relevant to community college students that live in underprivileged circumstances and that make them talk and think about math outside the classroom.”
Jamylle Carter, Diablo Valley College
“I've wanted to incorporate more social justice lessons into my math classes, but I don't know how. This is a great opportunity to learn what's out there and create something meaningful for students nationwide. I hope to contribute to a stronger social justice platform in Statway and to bring social justice lessons to my non-Pathways classes and colleagues.”
John Kellermeier, Faculty Mentor, Carnegie Math Pathways
“Math has historically been used as a gatekeeper to inhibit the success of systemically nondominant groups. By bringing social justice issues into the Pathways classroom, we can help to address oppressions such as racism, sexism and cisgenderism. Not only will this help to turn math into a gateway for all our students but also will help to create a more just society. I hope that we will be able to develop successful ways to incorporate social justice into the Pathways classroom and to share these with the broader math education community.”
Yolanda Manzano, Richland College
“Math is the mechanism by which we discover unfettered, unbiased, raw truth. A focus on rote procedures in mathematics courses neglects this beauty. The opportunity to infuse our curriculum with lessons that will strengthen students’ mathematics skills, positively impact their appreciation of mathematics all while simultaneously expanding their worldview is very exciting to me. I hope to help create lessons that engage and enlighten students. These lessons should motivate students to examine data critically for significant patterns and unexpected truths. Activities will inspire students to learn from facts that challenge their beliefs and consider social issues from new perspectives. In turn, this knowledge will grow and make our students more confident mathematicians, more astute thinkers and, most importantly, more involved and conscientious members of society.”
Paul Verschueren, Seattle Central Community College
“It strikes me that in a statistics class, we can have important and potentially difficult conversations grounded in the reality of numbers. Personally, I allow my assumptions to be challenged by a prevailing logic and facts, and I feel that is part of being an educated person. I hope our students are learning to do the same. Currently, our curriculum offers great examples using real data, but it could use a wider range of contexts appealing to more students and the issues they care most about. The social justice committee presents an opportunity for us to offer more, appealing to the many students who are deeply passionate about social justice. Students strengthen their voice by gaining the tools to fully understand the issues and public opinion about them.”
Scott Strother, Carnegie Math Pathways
"Practitioners have a unique opportunity to discuss issues of social justice and equity in their classroom while teaching math content. This can allow for increased student engagement and interest by creating contexts and learning outcomes that connect to students’ lives outside of the math classroom. Our curriculum can highlight this opportunity and these lessons are a perfect way to do so using the experience and expertise of the network."
Leslie Buck, SUNY Suffolk County Community College
“I was actually invited to join as Maria Alzugaray thought I could help. It seemed like an interesting way to apply my creative instincts while satisfying my spiritual conscience. It is very rewarding to teach just principles in conjunction with vital life skills, that is, mathematics. I hope to have a lot of fun while inspiring students with new perspectives. I plan to provide the information and allow them to formulate their own opinions.”