Creating Racial Justice in Early Mathematics

What is racial justice in early mathematics and why does it matter? Read on for insight.

Events over the last two years have shed light on how racial oppression continues to exist in all areas of life and that includes education. The Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative recently put out a call to action to the community to address long-standing racial injustices in the field of early mathematics.

What is racial justice in early mathematics, and why does it matter?

According to the Erikson Institute, racial justice in early mathematics means creating a worldview and an environment where all children and their families, regardless of their racial or linguistic background or immigrant status, are seen as intelligent and capable of engaging in and thinking critically about mathematics.

It means that children who come from racially and linguistically marginalized communities get the same access and opportunities to learn and apply their mathematical skills.

“Working to reverse 400 years of systemic oppression will require generational change but there are things that we can do to get moving,” says Rebeca Itzkowich, senior instructor and social content director of the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute.

How can parents help?

  • Be your child’s primary advocate. Build relationships with teachers and school administrators and make sure they have an accurate picture of your child’s academic potential.
  • Be your child’s cheerleader. Affirm their ability to be a thinker, learner and problem solver.
  • Enjoy math with your child. Play games, talk about math in everyday life and dispel the myth that Black and Brown children don’t like and can’t do math.
  • Encourage a growth mindset in your child. Help them see academic challenges as opportunities to grow their brains.

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