How civil rights pioneer Bob Moses changed the teaching of mathematics

Civil rights leader and education pioneer Bob Moses (1935-2021), who died in late July, always looked at his evolving mission from a civic perspective and what educational process was needed to achieve and enjoy his blessings.

His initial point was the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and, more remarkably, President Ulysses S. Grant’s efforts to respond to the social revolution of restructuring to make quality education a constitutional right. The Republican Congress was tired of restructuring and did not go along; Grant’s objectives remain to be met. If we want to “achieve our country,” as Moses echoed James Baldwin, we must uphold the constitutional right to quality education for all Americans.

Bob Moshe was inspired and guided by Ella Baker, 32, who mastered the art of organizing society for more than half a century before the birth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. She saw the organizers as teachers who promised not to build. Grow your own leadership but develop leadership in others. She and Moses believed that everyone had leadership potential but that it needed to be taught. In this way he created and spread a wide variety of citizenship education. Because they put community leadership at the center नाही not at the top-down charisma, but at the bottom, shared leadership among peers-they called it group-centered leadership. Participants were accountable to each other, holding each other accountable for group values ​​and goals. Group-centered leadership and citizenship education, which aims to gain the right to vote for African Americans, based on community and family support, are both important in rural South.

SNCC
Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

More than a decade after the 15 V5 suffrage law, Moses realized that the next frontier was economic justice, and that the flow of mathematics and science was a matter of color and low-income white people, full civil-voting rights in the 21st century. While Moses was completing his PhD. Starting school with his four children in mathematics philosophy at Harvard, he realized that for math literacy, especially algebra, to be accessible to underprivileged children, teacher-organizers needed to teach it like him and SNCC colleagues. Taught community planning – as an experiential learning in one’s community.

Notably, Moses translated the philosophy of his dissertation supervisor’s “set theory” into the process of teaching algebra through active student participation and empowerment. (Sets may be seen as mathematical equivalents of human groups.) For example, in Boston, the Mississippi Delta, or Miami, students discovered algebraic problems by mapping bus or subway routes and “solving” the problem by reaching their destination, as if cleaning workers were hunting. Self-directed students learned algebra by teaching and learning from their friends to solve real life problems. This strategy evolved into an algebra project, which, with the support of MacArthur “Genius” Grant, was quickly (as it were) removed. Although not mainstream, the algebra project has opened doors and views for thousands of middle and high school students from the North, South, East and West over the past 40 years.

In Algebra project, Students go through five stages: actual experience, pictorial representation, intuitive expression, structured expression, and symbolic representation. Starting with the children’s shared experiences, “we will reflect these pictures on their normal culture,” Moses wrote.Radical equations, “” Then create abstract concepts from their reflections, and then apply abstraction to their experience. “Students learn about the social construction of mathematics,” people work together and depend on each other. Interactions, cooperation and group dialogue are important during the Mississippi independence movement. True democracy from the bottom up.

Moses knew that the path to economic justice required a systematic change, but that the organized demand must come from the grassroots, especially from disadvantaged youth. Launched by Moses ’children and their colleagues across the country, affiliated with the Algebra Project Young People’s Project (YPP), which has supported a number of experiential learning initiatives inside and outside schools, including protests and direct action if needed. YPP groups are run democratically, working with other YPP groups and adult activists to push for broader reform – not incremental “reformist” reform, but real change. While they adapt or bypass state-wide and national curriculum reforms, always based on local community needs, school boards and teachers’ unions, they keep an eye on the rewards: Congressional passage and state as a constitutional right to establish quality education -The grueling process of state-to-state approval will give itself a vast social laboratory of empirical learning with the YPP and its allied lead and center.

The reform campaign will raise awareness among the American people about systematic education inequality and inequality and the need for creative, holistic solutions that serve every citizen and aspiring citizen. But as we have sadly learned from the 13th, 14th and 15th reforms after the Civil War, constitutional reforms must be implemented through the actions of Congress and grassroots activism (these two are often in conflict). Complex questions need to be addressed, most importantly: what is quality education, how to implement it in low-income districts with low tax funding, how to apply for higher education, how to properly calculate, how to be accountable to local people, how to survive over time?

Bob Moses has always had a long view of social change, devoting himself to short-term growth at the group and individual level वले teaching high school and high school mathematics for many years in Jackson, Mississippi, and elsewhere परंतु but knowing the universal flow of mathematics and science will take generations. He was known for his powerful eyes. So metaphorically, he saw the real person here with one eye, and changed that person or group of people with the other eye – the newly empowered citizens are committed to democratizing education, making it a force of liberation for all people.

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