A Position of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Question: What does creating and sustaining a culture of equity in the teaching and learning of mathematics require?
Excellence in mathematics education rests on equity—high expectations, respect, understanding, and strong support for all students. Policies, practices, attitudes, and beliefs related to mathematics teaching and learning must be assessed continually to ensure that all students have equal access to the resources with the greatest potential to promote learning. A culture of equity maximizes the learning potential of all students.
A culture of equity depends
on the joint efforts of all participants in the community of students, educators, families, and policymakers:
- All members of the community respect one another and value each
- The school community acknowledges and
embraces all experiences, beliefs, and ways of knowing mathematics.
- All necessary resources for optimal
learning and personal growth of students and teachers are allocated.
- High expectations, culturally relevant
practices, attitudes that are free of bias, and unprejudiced beliefs
expand and maximize the potential for learning.
- All students have access to and engage
in challenging, rigorous, and meaningful mathematical experiences.
encourage teachers and students to value and respect the work of all members of
the classroom community and to believe that all students can make important
contributions. Such practices empower all students to build a relationship with
mathematics that is positive and grounded in their own cultural roots and
history. In the classroom, teachers must encourage students to share their
thinking, listen to others, and support and contribute to the community’s
learning. Different solutions, interpretations, and approaches that are mathematically sound must be celebrated
and integrated into class deliberations about problems. All members of the
classroom group must accept the responsibility to engage with and support one
another throughout the learning experience.
Teachers, along with
families and policymakers, must participate in the school-based, collaborative
decision making necessary to provide equitable practices that support the
learning of all students at the highest possible level. NCTM believes that
schools in which teachers and students experience equitable practices afford greater
opportunities to engage students with significant mathematical ideas while
supporting the greater goal of helping students learn to care about others and
treat all human beings with dignity and respect.
NCTM position statements define a particular problem, issue, or need and describe its relevance to mathematics education. Each statement defines the Council's position or answers a question central to the issue. The NCTM Board of Directors approves position statements.