Equity issues

Toolkit Delivers Anti-Racist Instruction for Middle School Math

Nearly two dozen organizations, including teachers, instructional coaches, researchers in higher education and experts from nonprofits and offices of education recently contributed to the creation of a digital toolkit for anti-racist instructional practices for teaching math in grades 6-8. Coverage includes guidance for teachers implementing hybrid and remote learning. The project was led by the Education Trust-West, which advocates for "educational justice and high academic achievement" for and among California students.

The kit offers reports or "strides" in five areas.

  • The longest component, stride one, is an 82-page report with exercises for helping teachers "dismantle" their own biases and "deficit thinking";

  • The second stride (15 pages) covers approaches for deepening student conceptual understanding;

  • Number three (20 pages) shares practices to support students' social, emotional and academic development;

  • The fourth stride (43 page) offers tools for connecting math thinking to English language learning; and

  • The fifth one (28 pages) discusses coaching structures to support math educators in their ongoing pursuit of equity practices.

"The gaps in academic access and achievement for Black, Latinx and multilingual students are being exacerbated during the pandemic," says Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of the Education Trust-West, in a statement. "We can do better for California's students by offering educators the research-supported instructional practices necessary for addressing inequities in math education. School leaders and teachers can move from crisis to opportunity by using these tools to close these gaps."

"The toolkit will transform math education by addressing long-standing barriers to learning and success for Black, Latinx and bilingual students," added Rachel Ruffalo, director of educator engagement at the Education Trust-West. "There's no quick-fix to addressing systemic inequities in learning. However, these resources are designed to be used by educators now as they plan their curriculum and offer educators opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they develop anti-racist math practices."

Although the toolkit is focused on California and relied primarily on contributors in the state, much of the content would be applicable to educators in any location.

The toolkit is openly available as a ZIP download on a dedicated website, "A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.