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Topic: Public Statement: TODOS, Math For All, BBA
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Public Statement: TODOS, Math For All, BBA
Posted: Jul 26, 2012 1:34 PM
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Sent at the request of Don S. Balka, Cheryl M. Adeyemi, Melissa Hosten.
NCTM Equity Affiliates Coalition on CCSS

A joint public statement of TODOS: Mathematics for All, Benjamin
Banneker Association, and Women and Mathematics Education

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a state-led effort
to introduce K-12 students to rigorous mathematics content and
higher-order thinking skills in preparation for future workforce
training and/or academic college courses. The intent of a common,
coherent understanding among various demographic communities and
regions of our nation on the knowledge and skills students are
expected to learn for their future is a step in the right direction.
We acknowledge the diversity of individuals and groups who have
provided feedback to improve and strengthen this initiative. Rigorous
content and higher-order thinking skills for all students are
important elements of achieving equity.

However, a more holistic approach is required in addressing the CCSS
efforts to close the achievement gap, as a focus on curriculum and
assessment alone is not sufficient. Gaps in achievement are an
indicator of disparities between groups of students usually
identified (accurately or not) by race, ethnicity, gender, language,
socio- economic class, or special need identification (NCTM, 2004).
There is scientific evidence of improved learning for students
exposed to researched-informed instruction and assessment practices;
however, gaps in achievement remain.

As long as student achievement continues to be measured by
large-scale standardized tests then we believe that the CCSS
requirements present yet another set of obstacles for too many
students who currently are underperforming in mathematics. Therefore,
it is imperative that individuals with knowledge and expertise about
students who live in poverty, who have special needs, who are
Hispanic/Latino and others whose first language is not English, who
are African American or Native American, who are female, participate
in all implementation phases and decision-making for CCSS as we move
forward. Additionally, expertise from sociologists can provide
important insight into the learning needs for students in different
social class groups. Of particular importance is to draw on the work
of sociologists and education researchers who have documented the
schooling experiences of students who have historically
underperformed in mathematics. This work can inform teachers in
their efforts to increase participation and access for marginalized
students in U.S. classrooms. Psychometricians must analyze current
CCSS assessment instruments and procedures to determine if desired
achievement will be accurately measured.

Further, we believe that leaders and teachers must refresh their
understanding of equity (NCTM, 2008) as a process to address social
justice issues that impact teaching and learning. Unfortunately,
conscious and unconscious biases, blatant and subtle, personal and
institutionalized have caused unnecessary mistreatment of learners in
school. If these biases are not explicitly addressed within
professional learning experiences associated with implementation of
the CCSS, perceptions of marginalized groups of students in U.S.
schools as unable to learn rigorous mathematics may be reinforced.
We believe it is time for renewed emphasis on equity as part of
ongoing mathematics professional learning now and in the future.

The CCSS have the potential to level the playing field for all
students - but we wonder how does one instrument measure the growth
of the students on that field - when the students live in diverse
landscapes on the field. We can no longer believe that the field is
the same for all students. However, past experience reminds us that
this must be an inclusive, well thought through effort if all
students are to benefit equitably. The organizations listed will
continue to engage in discussion with each other on the CCSS and are
ready and willing to lend their expertise to CCSS experts.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2004). The NCTM
achievement gap task force final report. Reston, VA: Author.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2008). Equity in
mathematics education
(position statement). Retrieved from

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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