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Danny Bernard Martin

Critical scholars have argued that mathematics education is in danger of becoming increasingly influenced by and aligned with neoliberal and neoconservative market-focused projects. Although this larger argument is powerful, there are often 2 peculiar responses to issues of race and racism within these analyses. These responses are characterized by what the author sees as an unfortunate backgrounding of these issues in some analyses or a conceptually flawed foregrounding in others. These responses obscure the evidence that, beyond being aligned with the market-oriented goals of these projects, mathematics education has also been aligned with their prevailing racial agendas.

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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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Thomas E. Kieren

Mathematics education in schools can be viewed either as primarily a sociocultural phenomenon or as a nurturing of the individual's mathematical development. However, instead of taking the dichotomous view, contrasting the Vygotskian and the Pigetian perspectives, one may see the two as separate “truths,” providing different lenses through which to attain a more complete reciprocal embodied view of mathematics education.

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Margaret Walshaw

In an era when familiar categories of identity are breaking down, an argument is made for using post-structuralist vocabulary to talk about ethical practical action in mathematics education. Using aspects of Foucault's post-structuralism, an explanation is offered of how mathematical identifications are tied to the social organization of power. An analysis of 2 everyday instances is provided to capture the oppressive conditions in which ordinary people involved in mathematics are engaged. Describing how systemic constraints become lived as individual dilemmas offers a way of understanding what we might do to effect change, and what we might do to produce tangible results.

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Tonya Gau Bartell

This article describes teachers' collective work aimed at learning to teach mathematics for social justice. A situated, sociocultural perspective of learning guides this examination of teachers' negotiation of mathematical goals and social justice goals as they developed, implemented, and revised lessons for social justice. Teacher interviews, discussions, lessons, and written reflections were analyzed using grounded theory methodology, and teachers' conversations were examined concerning the relationship between mathematical goals and social justice goals. Analysis revealed that early tensions arose around balancing these goals, that teachers focused more attention on the social justice component, and that the instantiation of these goals in practice proved difficult. Variables that afford or constrain teachers' roles as social justice educators are discussed, and implications for teacher professional development are suggested.

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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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Dominic D. Peressini

In this article, using reform recommendations that call for parental involvement as a springboard, I provide an analysis of the positioning of parents in the school mathematics reform literature. Employing Foucault's (1980) conception of “regimes of truth,” I demonstrate how the literature has created the accepted discourse for mathematics education reform. I then argue that the professionalization of teachers has distanced parents from schools and led to conflict between parents and mathematics educators and that to reconcile this conflict, ways in which parents can be included in mathematics education must be considered. It is essential first, however, to understand issues central to involving parents in mathematics education. A research agenda for parental involvement in mathematics education is presented.

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Jill Adler

In this article talk is understood to be a resource for mathematical learning in school. As a resource it needs to be both seen (be visible) to be used and seen through (be invisible) to provide access to mathematical learning. Lave and Wenger' s (1991) concept of transparency captures this dual function of talk as a learning resource in the practice of school mathematics. I argue that the dual functions, visibility and invisibility, of talk in mathematics classrooms create dilemmas for teachers. An analytic narrative vignette drawn from a secondary mathematics classroom in South Africa illustrates the dilemma of transparency that mathematics teachers can face, particularly if they are teaching multilingual classes.