Dear Early Mathematics Education Community
For too long, we–especially those who are white and occupy positions of power–have not joined forces to denounce the pervasive and devastating effects of white supremacy and anti-Blackness on the learning and lives of the students in our charge. We write to share a Call to Action for the field, and to ask you to join us in our efforts.
Early childhood educators, including early mathematics educators, have only scratched the surface in acknowledging and disrupting the ways that racial oppression, in general, and the centering of whiteness, in particular, have infiltrated our beliefs, practices, research, and policies. Too often, deficit-oriented theories and perspectives grounded in white supremacy are enacted in curricula, instruction, assessment, and classroom and school structures. These enactments subject many Black, Latinx, Pan-Asian, and Indigenous children to adultification, criminalization, surveillance, educational neglect, and other forms of dehumanization and violence. As a result, children and their families must frequently navigate negative messages about their identities–as learners, as doers of mathematics, and as members of racialized groups.
Call to Action
We call on the field of early mathematics education to name and dismantle white supremacy and anti-Blackness in all of their manifestations. Together we must:
- show unequivocally that early childhood environments are not immune to racial oppression, but are subject to white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and other forms of racial oppression;
- explicate the ways in which white supremacy and anti-Blackness are present and operate in the institutions, policies, practices, and belief systems that support early childhood education in particular;
- demonstrate how white supremacy and anti-Blackness can thwart children’s development, impede educational justice, and threaten the possibility of young children flourishing mathematically;
- examine our personal and collective involvement in these systems and structures and take action to disrupt the white supremacist status quo, transforming educational experiences and becoming anti-racist actors and advocates;
- listen to, elevate, and value the expertise and wisdom of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Pan-Asian families, community members, and children; and
- imagine and develop systems and practices of early mathematics education that honor the humanity of Black, Latinx, Pan-Asian, and Indigenous children and protect their right to thrive.
By signing here, we pledge to seek out, participate in, and create opportunities to answer this Call. We embrace anti-racism, committing ourselves to ongoing critical self-examination and bold actions that oppose white supremacy, anti-blackness and other forms of racial oppression.
Promising Math 2022: Racial Justice in Early Math
Learn more and register for our upcoming (virtual) event focused on Racial Justice. We will dive deeply into problems of systemic racism and the ways they injure our youngest math learners.
As part of the event, we will hear from educators, parents, scholars, and community members who have developed creative and inspiring ways of providing mathematics education opportunities that circumvent or disrupt the systemic racial injustices embedded in our educational systems. There will be several opportunities to connect with others who care about this work, building new relationships with like-minded colleagues.
The RJEM Working Group
Nathaniel Bryan, Assistant Professor, Miami University
Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Rebeca Itzkowich, Senior Instructor, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Donna Johnson, Assistant Director of School Supports, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Nora Kane, Media Coordinator and Strategist, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Melissa Kirk, Administrative Manager, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Danny Martin*, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Jennifer McCray*, Principal Investigator, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Cody Meirick, Production Manager, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Gigliana Melzi, Associate Professor, New York University/DREME Network
Amy Parks, Professor, Michigan State University
Priscila Pereira, Doctoral Student, University of Illinois at Chicago
Aisha Ray, Professor Emerita, Erikson Institute
Sisa Renie, Coach/Facilitator, Erikson Early Math Collaborative
Amanda Ruch, Middle School Math Teacher, Chicago Public Schools
Delilah Salgado, Artist and Local School Council Member, Velma Thomas Early Childhood
Niral Shah, Associate Professor, University of Washington
Wilma Valero, Educational Consultant, Valero Educational Consulting, Inc.
*Working Group co-chairs
Support for the Racial Justice in Early Mathematics initiative is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation.
Previous Signatures (631)
|19||Mrs. Sara Kline||Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator, North Chicago Community School District 187|
|18||Dr. LaToya Byrd||Director, PL Implementation and Talent|
|17||Dr. Jana Visnovska||Senior Lecturer, the University of Queensland|
|16||Ms. Mary Ann Davis||Math Specialist, Family Learning Center|
|15||Ms. Laura Partington||Community Engagement Librarian--Early Childhood|
|14||Mrs. Vinessa Baesa Gonzalez||Teacher at Baby College|
|13||Ms. Bethanie Smith|
|12||Ms. shawntay king||Assistant professor|
|11||Ms. Kris Pottharst||Director, Board Relations, Xavier University of Louisiana|
|10||Ms. Anne Inwood||Owner, Successful Families Together|
|9||Ms. Atena Danner||Assoc. Director of Learning and Facilitation|
|8||Ms. Veronica Castro||Erikson Institute|
|7||Ms. Monica Wendelin||DPS|
|6||Ms. tawatangira Mwenyendiani||Most Tapping|
|5||Ms. Ali McConville||Mother, homeschooler|
|4||Ms. Priscila Pereira||Doctoral Student - UIC|
|3||Ms. Corrie Hamilton||teacher, Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center|
|2||Mr. Jeffrey Kennedy||Instructional Specialist|
|1||Mrs. Carybeth Hobbs||K-5 Instructional Staff Developer , Pinellas County Schools|