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Eva Thanheiser and Courtney Koestler

[The If the World Were a Village book (Smith, 2011) and activity (described in this article)] was a really good way to open one’s perspective. As an American, I tend to be a bit focused on the United States, so to see how much [or how little] of the world is actually represented in my perspective was enlightening.

Living in the United States . . . I was surprised that only 5% [of the world population] were from North America.

Long-standing and ongoing calls exist for making mathematics meaningful, relevant, and applicable outside the classroom. Major mathematics education organizations (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics [NCSM], Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators [AMTE], TODOS: Mathematics for ALL) have called for mathematics to be seen as a tool for understanding and critiquing the world. To prepare students and teachers to do this, we must go beyond “everyday" contexts and include analysis of social justice issues into our courses. We share an activity designed to address these calls while also addressing the mathematics goals of the course. We share data showing that prospective teachers learned mathematics while also learning about their world and reframing their view of mathematics as a tool to make sense of the world.

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Mathew D. Felton-Koestler and Courtney Koestler

Many current and prospective teachers, policy makers, and members of the public view mathematics as neutral and objective, and they expect mathematics teaching and teacher education to be neutral as well. But what would it mean to think of mathematics teacher education as politically neutral? Below we consider some questions that we see as highlighting why mathematics teacher education cannot be neutral. We are not the first to raise these issues, but we appreciate the opportunity to discuss and reflect on them among a community of mathematics teacher educators. Although these questions have always been relevant, we see their importance growing in the face of the increased mathematization of our world and a highly polarized political landscape with a seemingly increased public acceptance of oppressive discourse and actions (Potok, 2017).

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Tonya Bartell, Courtney Koestler, and Mary Q. Foote

The Access, Allies, and Agency in Mathematical Systems project team designed a professional development for mathematics teachers positioning equity at the systemic level and activities aimed at supporting mathematics teachers in considering the influence of privilege and oppression on mathematics teaching and learning (Scroggins, 2017). Here, we examine the levels of oppression activity, aimed at supporting mathematics teachers in understanding that oppression operates at multiple levels (i.e., as a system) and that these levels exist and operate in/on mathematics education. Such understanding can support mathematics teachers in disrupting inequities, and how mathematics teachers engage in this activity can support mathematics teacher educators in preparing teachers to do such work. Specifically, we explore the question: How does this activity support mathematics teachers’ understanding of levels of oppression?

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Allyson Hallman-Thrasher, Courtney Koestler, Danielle Dani, Amanda Kolbe, and Katie Lyday

Through trial and error and ultimate success, students create a graph to model a real-world situation.