#TMC16: Race, Math, and What We're Not Talking About {Jose Luis Vilson}

Race, Math, and What We're Not Talking About
Jose Luis Vilson
Saturday Keynote 1:30-2:30

Who gets to decide what is relevant? Why does relevance matter?

The general public watches too many movies.
-Teachers aren't supposed to be complicated or have feelings

The general public thinks we generally do a good job
-Except for one or two bad apples
-That spoil the whole bunch

The general public has a hard time with educators as people who talk about things other than teaching.

Math teachers:
-ask critical questions
-ask these questions of themselves and others
-prepare for teachable moments
-expect non-closure
-stand on principles of inquiry and openness
-allow for multiple pathways
-complete, correct, and consistent

Why do we ask students to do the things we wouldn't want for ourselves?

Getting uncomfortable is part of the process.
Learning math is a journey, not a destination.
Learning is not linear, but a piece wise function.
Cheating off the smart kids in class is ephemeral at best.
Beyond pee breaks.

Our most disadvantaged students need access to higher order math.

The math doesn't add for them: students of color are suspended at disproportionate rates

Over testing and rigor ratchets up school closures and privatization

Math is one of the largest gatekeepers
-dropout rates
-college and career readiness

If we are not agents of change then we are agents of status quo.

If students don't see compassion and empathy in their school system, why would they even want to discuss or share social justice issues? If you create a safe place from the jump, you can do anything and have those hard conversations at any time.

We have students that are capable of more than we are. Cultivate and get out of the way.

Our understandings of the culture of our students are key to how students approach math.

People of color don't need mascots, they need people who are going to do the work.

White teachers in predominantly white areas can talk about what it means to be white in America and how that has changed over time.

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