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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators

Toolkit creates pathway for equitable math instruction

May 17, 2021
As educators plan their instruction for the next school year, a new toolkit is aimed at ensuring more equity-centered math instruction.
A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction was released late last year by The Education Trust-West, which convened a team of educators concerned about addressing barriers to equitable math instruction in grades 6-8.
The toolkit, which is now available on ACSA’s Online Learning Center, offers an integrated approach to mathematics that centers on Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students, addresses barriers to equitable instructional practices and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards.
Collaborators included classroom teachers, district instructional coaches, county office of education instructional leaders, professors of mathematics, researchers, English language development experts and professional development providers. Funding support for the toolkit was received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“As educators plan their instruction this year, they must make strategic instructional decisions about which content to prioritize. Once the instructional priority content is determined, educators must then ensure that their instructional practices fundamentally center on access and equity, especially for students who have been most impacted by the pandemic,” said Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director, The Education Trust–West, in an e-mail to partners. “We believe that not only is this possible, but that this is the moment to transform mathematics education to be not only accessible and equitable, but humanizing and anti-racist.”
Students of color and those from economically distressed households have long been denied access to quality math instruction, the toolkit authors write. Students face bias through deficit thinking and limited access to quality instructional resources and engaging curricula. The authors write that many of these barriers to equity existed before the pandemic and have only been exacerbated by COVID-19 and distance learning.
The toolkit “strides” serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.
Stride 1: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction
Addresses the acculturation of bias and racism in school systems and mathematics instruction through exercises for educators to reflect on their own biases and transform their instructional practice.
Stride 2: Fostering Deep Understanding Addresses lack of curricular supports and teacher training to develop students’ mathematics conceptual understanding by presenting methods for deepening student conceptual understanding through orchestrated math discussions that build on and connect multiple strategies.
Stride 3: Connecting Critical Intersections Addresses a lack of curricular supports and teacher training to scaffold for language development in the mathematics classroom by illustrating the interconnectedness of English language learning and the development of mathematical thinking.
Stride 4: Creating Conditions to Thrive Addresses a lack of coherence among students’ social, emotional and academic development in mathematics learning by including environments and practices that support students’ social, emotional, and academic development.
Stride 5: Sustaining Equitable Practice Addresses a lack of sustained opportunities to support teachers’ growth from applying principles of equity to becoming anti-racist educators by introducing coaching structures that support math educators in their ongoing centering of equity principles.
FYI
A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction
Download the toolkit on ACSA's Online Learning Center.
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