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The Equity Principle

Excellence in mathematics education requires equity—high expectations and strong support for all students. 


MathclassAll students, regardless of their personal characteristics, backgrounds, or physical challenges, must have opportunities to study--and support to learn--mathematics. This does not mean that every student should be treated the same. But all students need access each year they are in school to a coherent, challenging mathematics curriculum that is taught by competent and well-supported mathematics teachers.

Too many students--especially students who are poor, not native speakers of English, disabled, female, or members of minority groups--are victims of low expectations in mathematics. For example, tracking has consistently consigned disadvantaged groups of students to mathematics classes that concentrate on remediation or do not offer significant mathematical substance. The Equity Principle demands that high expectations for mathematics learning be communicated in words and deeds to all students.

Some students may need more than an ambitious curriculum and excellent teaching to meet high expectations. Students who are having difficulty may benefit from such resources as after-school programs, peer mentoring, or cross-age tutoring. Students with special learning needs in mathematics should be supported by both their classroom teachers and special education staff.

Likewise, students with special interests or exceptional talent in mathematics may need enrichment programs or additional resources to keep them challenged and engaged. The talent and interest of these students must be nurtured so that they have the opportunity and guidance to excel in mathematics.

Well-documented examples demonstrate that all children can learn mathematics when they have access to high-quality mathematics instruction. Such instruction needs to become the norm rather than the exception.


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