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January 2013, Volume 44, Issue 1


Editorial: Identity, Power, and Stewardship: Perspectives of a New Editor
Cynthia Langrall
This editorial, the first from the new editor of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME), describes how JRME serves the mathematics education community.

Introduction to the JRME Equity Special Issue
JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel
This article introduces the JRME Equity Special Issue. It includes a rationale for the issue, the process of selecting articles, and a description of the articles that will appear in the special issue. It concludes with a set of questions that teachers and researchers can and should ponder as they read these articles.

Positioning Oneself in Mathematics Education Research
JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel
This dialogue, also extracted from a conversation among members of the Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel, involves the role of a researcher’s position in mathematics education. It raises issues about the non-neutrality of research; the relationship between a researcher’s identity and the design, analysis, and conclusions of a research study; the benefits for researchers and participants in positioning oneself; and the role of mathematics education in this endeavor

Addressing Racism
JRME Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel
This dialogue, extracted from a conversation among some members of the Equity Special Issue Editorial Panel, concerns racism in mathematics education. It raises issues about the use of various terms; about fields of research outside of mathematics education; and about the kinds of racialization processes that occur for students, teachers, and researchers. The social context of students, the achievement gap, and the role of mathematics education in the production of race are also discussed.

The Sociopolitical Turn in Mathematics Education- FREE PREVIEW!
Rochelle Gutiérrez
Over the past decade, the mathematics education research community has incorporated more sociocultural perspectives into its ways of understanding and examining teaching and learning. However, researchers who have a long history of addressing anti-racism and social justice issues in mathematics have moved beyond this sociocultural view to espouse sociopolitical concepts and theories, highlighting identity and power at play. This article highlights some promising conceptual tools from critical theory and post-structuralism and makes an argument for why taking the sociopolitical turn is important for both researchers and practitioners.

Negotiating the “White Male Math Myth”: African American Male Students and Success in School Mathematics
David W. Stinson
This article shows how equity research in mathematics education can be decentered by reporting the “voices” of mathematically successful African American male students as they recount their experiences with school mathematics, illustrating, in essence, how they negotiated the White male math myth. Using post-structural theory, the concepts discourse, person/identity, and power/agency are reinscribed or redefined. The article also shows that using a post-structural reinscription of these concepts, a more complex analysis of the multiplicitous and fragmented robust mathematics identities of African American male students is possible—an analysis that refutes simple explanations of effort. The article concludes, not with “answers,” but with questions to facilitate dialogue among those who are interested in the mathematics achievement and persistence of African American male students—and equity and justice in the mathematics classroom for all students.

Post-structuralism and Ethical Practical Action: Issues of Identity and Power
Margaret Walshaw
In an era when familiar categories of identity are breaking down, an argument is made for using post-structuralist vocabulary to talk about ethical practical action in mathematics education. Using aspects of Foucault’s post-structuralism, an explanation is offered of how mathematical identifications are tied to the social organization of power. An analysis of 2 everyday instances is provided to capture the oppressive conditions in which ordinary people involved in mathematics are engaged. Describing how systemic constraints become lived as individual dilemmas offers a way of understanding what we might do to effect change, and what we might do to produce tangible results.

Mathematics Education and Language Diversity: A Dialogue Across Settings
Mamokgethi Setati Phakeng and Judit N. Moschkovich
This article shares the authors’ views on language-diversity issues in research in mathematics education. Described are tensions, questions, and myths that they have regularly faced as researchers. They use similarities and differences in two settings (multilingual classrooms in South Africa and U.S. mathematics classrooms with Latino/a students) to illustrate the complexity of this work and illuminate research findings.

Learning to Teach Mathematics for Social Justice: Negotiating Social Justice and Mathematical Goals
Tonya Gau Bartell
This article describes teachers’ collective work aimed at learning to teach mathematics for social justice. Teacher interviews, discussions, lessons, and written reflections were analyzed using grounded theory methodology, and teachers’ conversations were examined concerning the relationship between mathematical goals and social justice goals. Analysis revealed that early tensions arose around balancing these goals, that teachers focused more attention on the social justice component, and that the instantiation of these goals in practice proved difficult.

Negotiating Social Justice Teaching: One Full-Time Teacher’s Practice Viewed From the Trenches
Susan A. Gregson
This case study examines the practice of a full-time mathematics teacher and social activist working in a secondary school with the twin missions of college preparation and social justice. Findings detail how this teacher views the relationship between mathematics education and social justice and how her conception of teaching for social justice is enacted in her mathematics classes.

English Learners’ Participation in Mathematical Discussion: Shifting Positionings and Dynamic Identities
Erin Turner, Higinio Dominguez, Luz Maldonado, and Susan Empson
This study investigated discursive positioning moves that facilitated Latino/a English learners’ (ELs) opportunities to take on agentive problem-solving roles in group mathematical discussion. A focus on mechanisms that support students’ agentive participation is consistent with the authors’ view that recurrent experiences participating and being positioned in particular ways contribute to identity development. Findings suggest several ways that discursive positioning facilitated ELs’ agentive participation.

One Size Does NOT Fit All: Achieving Equity in Māori Mathematics Classrooms
Tamsin Meaney, Tony Trinick, and Uenuku Fairhall
This article explores how a school in Aotearoa [New Zealand] infuses the identity of Indigenous students into the school-based curriculum through the promotion of their language and culture in mathematics lessons. For equity to be achieved regarding students’ mathematics learning, parents’ and the community’s aspirations for students’ education need to be infused into debates about the knowledge that teachers are expected to include in their teaching.

Power, Identity, and Mathematical Practices Outside and Inside School
Na’ilah Suad Nasir and Maxine McKinney de Royston
How issues of power and identity play out in mathematical practices are described by Na’ilah Suad Nasir and Maxine McKinney de Royston. Their article offers a perspective on how to better understand the sociopolitical nature of teaching and learning mathematics. They present data from studies of mathematics teaching and learning in out-of-school settings, offering a sociocultural, then a sociopolitical analysis (attending to race, identity, and power), noting the value of the latter. They developed a set of theoretical tools that move from the sociocultural to the sociopolitical in studies of mathematics teaching and learning.

Power in Numbers: Student Participation in Mathematical Discussions in Heterogeneous Spaces
Indigo Esmonde and Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna
Mathematics classrooms are conceptualized as heterogeneous spaces in which multiple figured worlds come into contact. The study explores how a group of high school students drew upon several figured worlds as they navigated mathematical discussions.

Race, Racial Projects, and Mathematics Education
Danny Bernard Martin
Critical scholars have argued that mathematics education is in danger of becoming increasingly influenced by and aligned with neoliberal and neoconservative market-focused projects. Although this larger argument is powerful, there are often 2 peculiar responses to issues of race and racism within these analyses. These responses are characterized by what the author sees as an unfortunate backgrounding of these issues in some analyses or a conceptually flawed foregrounding in others. These responses obscure the evidence that, beyond being aligned with the market-oriented goals of these projects, mathematics education has also been aligned with their prevailing racial agendas.