Much of the discussion of race in math education has centered on the persistent underperformance of certain student groups, particularly black, Latino, and indigenous youth, and their disparate access to honors, gifted, and advanced mathematics courses. Yet a new paper disrupts those narratives by examining an unaddressed element of the equation—namely, the ways in which “whiteness” in math education reproduces racial advantages for white students and disadvantages historically marginalized students of color.
Dan Battey, an associate math professor at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, sought to expose how whiteness operates in classrooms and schools, leaving black, Latino, and indigenous students disenfranchised mathematically.
According to Battey, there are ways in which math teachers, math educators, and math researchers “are perpetuating racism in schools”—which is shaping the expectations, interactions, and kinds of mathematics that students experience. And the lack of attention to whiteness as the fundamental cause leaves it invisible and neutral.