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Rochelle Gutiérrez

Over the past decade, the mathematics education research community has incorporated more sociocultural perspectives into its ways of understanding and examining teaching and learning. However, researchers who have a long history of addressing anti-racism and social justice issues in mathematics have moved beyond this sociocultural view to espouse sociopolitical concepts and theories, highlighting identity and power at play. This article highlights some promising conceptual tools from critical theory (including critical race theory/Latcrit theory) and post-structuralism and makes an argument for why taking the sociopolitical turn is important for both researchers and practitioners. Potential benefits and challenges of this turn are also discussed.

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Addressing Racism

JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel

Beatriz D'Ambrosio, Marilyn Frankenstein, Rochelle Gutiérrez, Signe Kastberg, Danny Bernard Martin, Judit Moschkovich, Edd Taylor and David Barnes

This is a dialogue extracted from a conversation among some members of the Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel (Beatriz D'Ambrosio; Marilyn Frankenstein; Rochelle Gutiérrez, Special Issue editor; Signe Kastberg; Danny Martin; Judit Moschkovich; Edd Taylor; and David Barnes) about racism in mathematics education. It raises issues about the use of terms such as race and racism; understanding fields of research outside of mathematics education; the kinds of racialization processes that occur for students, teachers, and researchers; the social context of students; the achievement gap; and the role of mathematics education in the production of race.

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Na'ilah Suad Nasir and Maxine McKinney de Royston

This article explores how issues of power and identity play out in mathematical practices and offers a perspective on how we might better understand the sociopolitical nature of teaching and learning mathematics. We present data from studies of mathematics teaching and learning in out-of-school settings, offering a sociocultural, then a sociopolitical analysis (attending to race, identity, and power), noting the value of the latter. In doing so, we develop a set of theoretical tools that move us from the sociocultural to the sociopolitical in studies of mathematics teaching and learning.

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Introduction to the JRME Equity Special Issue

JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel

Beatriz D'Ambrosio, Marilyn Frankenstein, Rochelle Gutiérrez, Signe Kastberg, Danny Bernard Martin, Judit Moschkovich, Edd Taylor and David Barnes

This article provides an introduction to the JRME Equity Special Issue. It includes a rationale for the special issue, the process for selecting articles, and a description of the kinds of articles that will appear in the special issue. It concludes with a set of questions that teachers and researchers can and should ponder as they read the articles in the special issue.

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Rebecca McGraw, Sarah Thuele Lubienski and Marilyn E. Strutchens

In this article we describe gender gaps in mathematics achievement and attitude as measured by the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 1990 to 2003. Analyzing relationships among achievement and mathematical content, student proficiency and percentile levels, race, and socioeconomic status (SES), we found that gender gaps favoring males (1) were generally small but had not diminished across reporting years, (2) were largest in the areas of measurement, number and operations (in Grades 8 and 12) and geometry (in Grade 12), (3) tended to be concentrated at the upper end of the score distributions, and (4) were most consistent for White, high-SES students and non-existent for Black students. In addition, we found that female students' attitudes and self-concepts related to mathematics continued to be more negative than those of male students.

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Amy Noelle Parks and Mardi Schmeichel

This Research Commentary builds on a 2-stage literature review to argue that there are 4 obstacles to making a sociopolitical turn in mathematics education that would allow researchers to talk about race and ethnicity in ways that take both identity and power seriously: (a) the marginalization of discussions of race and ethnicity; (b) the reiteration of race and ethnicity as independent variables; (c) absence of race and ethnicity from mathematics education research; and (d) the minimizing of discussions of race and ethnicity, even within equity-oriented work.

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Positioning Oneself in Mathematics Education Research

JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel

Beatriz D'Ambrosio, Marilyn Frankenstein, Rochelle Gutiérrez, Signe Kastberg, Danny Bernard Martin, Judit Moschkovich, Edd Taylor and David Barnes

This dialogue, also extracted from a conversation among members of the Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel, involves the role of a researcher's position in mathematics education. It raises issues about the non-neutrality of research; the relationship between a researcher's identity and the design, analysis, and conclusions of a research study; the benefits for researchers and participants in positioning oneself; and the role of mathematics education in this endeavor.

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Susan A. Gregson

This case study examines the practice of a full-time mathematics teacher and social activist working in a secondary school with the twin missions of college preparation and social justice. Findings detail how this teacher views the relationship between mathematics education and social justice and how her conception of teaching for social justice is enacted in her mathematics classes. Interview data and excerpts of classroom practice are used to describe how the teacher negotiates 2 dilemmas in her teaching: the challenge of fostering students' independence/interdependence and the problem of dominant mathematics as a necessity/obstacle to social justice.

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Robert Q. Berry III

This article is about 8 African American middle school boys who have experienced success in mathematics. Working within a phenomenological methodological framework, the researcher investigated the limitations these students encounter and the compensating factors they experience. Critical race theory was the theoretical framework for this study; counter-storytelling was utilized to capture the boys' experiences, which is in stark contrast to the dominant literature concerning African American males and mathematics. Five themes emerged from the data: (a) early educational experiences, (b) recognition of abilities and how it was achieved, (c) support systems, (d) positive mathematical and academic identity, and (e) alternative identities.

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Tamsin Meaney, Tony Trinick and Uenuku Fairhall

In this article, we explore how a school in Aotearoa [New Zealand] infuses the identity of Indigenous students into the school-based curriculum through the promotion of their language and culture in mathematics lessons. Bernstein's pedagogic device illustrates how teachers' practices were influenced by being able to think the “unthinkable.” This came from the contestation that arose when competing bodies of knowledge had to be integrated both at the school level and at the classroom level. For equity to be achieved regarding students' mathematics learning, parents' and the community's aspirations for students' education need to be infused into debates about the knowledge that teachers are expected to include in their teaching. This enables the local context to make a positive contribution to students' learning. It also implies that programs for improvement should not be imposed on schools unless there are opportunities for them to be adapted to the needs of individual schools.