January Blog:

Mathematics & Diversity:

Why? What do you think?

Why think about diversity in the teaching and learning of mathematics?
Diversity often times is deemed as limiting to what a teacher and students can do in the classroom. In other words, diversity can be seen as an issue.
Have you ever noticed problems with diversity?
For example, sometimes when people have different opinions on an idea trouble is around the corner.
So, is diversity really the issue?
Allan Johnson mentioned:
 “The trouble around diversity, then, isn’t just that people differ from one another. The trouble is produced by a world organized in ways that encourage people to use difference to include or exclude, reward or punish, credit or discredit, elevate or oppress, value or devalue, leave alone or harass” (2006, p. 16).
Then, it seems that diversity itself is not the real problem. The problem is what we do with diversity. In the mathematics classroom diversity could manifest in many ways.
In the November TODOS Live!, Dr. Marta Civil presented on ideas related to this topic. Watch it now

Civil_TL from TODOS Live! on Vimeo.

Please, participate in this TODOS blog by responding to any of the 3 questions on diversity
  1. What to do when the teacher's and the students' backgrounds are different?
  2. What to do when the diversity among students themselves is wide?
  3. What to do in the classroom when students’ experiences with mathematics are diverse?
Resources Question 1 What to do when the teacher's and the students' backgrounds are different?
Resources Question 2 .   What to do when the diversity among students themselves is wide?
Resources Question 3 .   What to do in the classroom when students’ experiences with mathematics are diverse?
Let’s discuss and learn together about diversity and Mathematics.


Mathematics is a cultural activity.  The way in which people engage in mathematics is often determined by who they are, where they are and how they and the people around them think about mathematics.   Ubiratan D’Ambrosio (2001) defines ethnomathematics as a term used to “express the relationship between culture and mathematics” (p. 308). As he explains, “Mathematics is a compilation of progressive discoveries and inventions from cultures around the world during the course of history. Its history and ethnography form a wonderful mosaic of cultural contributions.” (p. 310)
TODOS acknowledges that mathematics is a social construct.  In our cultures, in our homes and in our classrooms we jointly build meaning for what mathematics is. For these constructs to overlap, to agree, to form a common understanding across cultures, is the work of the classroom.
As D’Ambrosio (2001) writes, “An important component of mathematics education today should be to reaffirm, and in some instances to restore, the cultural dignity of children” (p. 308)
TODOS acts to develop tools to build a shared understanding of mathematics that gives each child a place in its definition, each culture recognition for its often unique way of visualizing mathematical ideas and each representation of these ideas thoughtful study.
TODOS holds itself accountable for this work and for advocating for those who provide the research and ideas that grow our understanding of social justice in mathematics.
TODOS stands with Rochelle Gutiérrez and other researchers who provide clarity so we remember what we teach, whom we are teaching and center language, culture and literacy in the mathematics that we teach and in the ways that we teach it.
TODOS 2018 Conference will address this goal through the lens of advocating for equity and social justice. ( Please join us as we further and deepen our understanding of the role of social justice in mathematics education.
Expect to hear from TODOS’ Advocacy Committee.  This group is building the tools we need to proactively support and build on the work of Rochelle and other scholars who are working tirelessly to support us as we advocate for high quality mathematics education for all students.
Please read our joint position statement with NCSM to further acquaint yourself with our stance. (
Take to social media and pass this along:  #IstandwithRochelle
Diane Kinch
President, TODOS:  Mathematics for ALL
D’Ambrosio, U. (2001). What is ethnomathematics and how can it help children in schools. Teaching Children Mathematics,7(6) 308-310.

Taking a Stand for Humanity

TODOS: Mathematics for ALL is an organization that seeks to create a more just, humanizing and equitable mathematics education experience for all. Regardless of your political views, we cannot let our differences overshadow our humanity toward each other. We recognize that the current political climate may affect how we move forward as a people that value democracy and justice for all. We must find strength and resolve to reach out to people hurting, scared and uncertain of their futures. We must find ways to support educators to hold space for listening, emotions, and deeper understanding. We have much work to do.
We reiterate here our TODOS mission and goals. In the present political climate, we interpret these as including the following:
  • Respecting and incorporating into our mathematics programs, the role language and culture play in teaching and learning mathematics.
  • Supporting teachers who need help navigating the political and emotional situations occurring daily in their classrooms.
  • Generating and disseminating knowledge that supports our mission of advocacy for all students.
  • Informing the public and influencing educational policies that protect our students and enhance the educational experiences of all of our students.Informing families about the opportunities available to their children and working continuously and ardently to enable these children to become mathematically proficient.

 As mathematics educators, we will continue to stand with our students and their families, advocate for them and affirm their futures.

We welcome your thoughts, comments, and ideas on this subject.

Taking a Stand Part 2

TODOS in its “Taking a Stand for Humanity” statement after the presidential election presented our belief that we must work to create a more just, humanizing, and equitable mathematics education experience for all. Education happens within a context. One such context is the political climate in which children exist. Regardless of political views, we cannot stand by and watch while the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are swept aside by executive orders.  To reiterate,  “We must find strength and resolve to reach out to people hurting, scared, and uncertain of their futures. We must find ways to support educators to hold space for listening, emotions, and deeper understanding. We have much work to do.”

We at TODOS believe in the following:

Read More

Standing for Equity and Social Justice

Standing for Equity and Social Justice

My family, as is true for most Americans, is a product of immigration.  My great grandparents left Ireland because of the prejudice and fear that permeated that country in the thousand years for which it was a possession of another.  The people of Ireland were treated as sub-human, criminal, and left to starve. And so they left.  They came to America.
This is my country.  My country, of which Emma Lazarus wrote:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The events in Charlottesville and elsewhere paint a different picture, a picture of a country riddled with hate, with white supremist attitudes that are both born of and belied by history, science and good will.
As mathematics educators we are beholden to the children under our care and our tutelage.  Their dreams of the future are the hope of the future of this country and of the world.  Their dreams have been the dreams of each generation and always we, the educators, have the responsibility to equip them with the tools to achieve these dreams. 
In the words of Brooks & Dunn in the song, Only in America,
“Only in America
Where we dream as big as we want to
We all get a chance
Everybody gets to dance
Only in America”
 The vision of America in the songs that have defined the United States for generations is again slipping away. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law over 150 years ago, Rosa Parks sat down on that bus over 60 years ago, and over 50 years ago, César Chavez went on his hunger march  and Martin Luther King was murdered. Yet still we do not match our picture of ourselves. In this county, not everybody gets to dance. What can we, as members of TODOS, do to actualize the vision of America as a place for ALL people?  Taking the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution and drawing on the essence of the NCSM/TODOS position paper on Social Justice we have the following:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” {Constitution} …Do agree to treat each other with respect, educate each and every one of our children for their future through acknowledging the wrongs that have been done, taking action to ensure that these wrongs will not recur and hold ourselves accountable for supporting and incentivizing mathematics teachers and leaders to live the words of this message.
Without our commitment to this work, the dream of America will fail.  Our children are our future.  As children watched the events in Charlottesville, what conclusions did they reach?  What is our response as educators to their confusion and uncertainty? As the President of the Benjamin Banneker Association, Brea Ratliff, has stated, “They need to know that we will always stand up for what's right.” TODOS commits to this.  Integrity matters, social justice is about the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society. It is not about financial gain or professional advancement or putting oneself before the good of others.
As schools start up for another year of hopeful progress, let each of us commit to turning the tide, to working within our classrooms, schools, districts, counties and states to advocate for each and every child, for each of them represents the future of America. The TODOS Advocacy Committee will be working on this and other issues in the coming year.  Please stay tuned and become involved in the rebuilding of the dream.
Diane Kinch