Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project
The remarkable story of the Algebra Project, a community-based effort to develop math-science literacy in disadvantaged schools—as told by the program’s founder
“Bob Moses was a hero of mine. His quiet confidence helped shape the civil rights movement, and he inspired generations of young people looking to make a difference”—Barack Obama
At a time when popular solutions to the educational plight of poor children of color are imposed from the outside—national standards, high-stakes tests, charismatic individual saviors—the acclaimed Algebra Project and its founder, Robert Moses, offer a vision of school reform based in the power of communities. Begun in 1982, the Algebra Project is transforming math education in twenty-five cities. Founded on the belief that math-science literacy is a prerequisite for full citizenship in society, the Project works with entire communities—parents, teachers, and especially students—to create a culture of literacy around algebra, a crucial stepping-stone to college math and opportunity.
Telling the story of this remarkable program, Robert Moses draws on lessons from the 1960s Southern voter registration he famously helped organize: “Everyone said sharecroppers didn't want to vote. It wasn't until we got them demanding to vote that we got attention. Today, when kids are falling wholesale through the cracks, people say they don't want to learn. We have to get the kids themselves to demand what everyone says they don't want.”
We see the Algebra Project organizing community by community. Older kids serve as coaches for younger students and build a self-sustained tradition of leadership. Teachers use innovative techniques. And we see the remarkable success stories of schools like the predominately poor Hart School in Bessemer, Alabama, which outscored the city's middle-class flagship school in just three years.
Radical Equations provides a model for anyone looking for a community-based solution to the problems of our disadvantaged schools.
Algebra and Civil Rights?
Learning from Ella Lessons from Mississippi ca 1961
Standin at the Crossroads From Voter Registration to Political Party
Radical Equations The Story of a Grassroots Education Movement
Bouncing a Ball The Early Days of the Algebra Project
Pedagogy The Experience of Teachers and Students
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Algebra Project Amite Amite County Amzie Moore asked Atlanta began Black Cambridge civil rights movement classroom committed concepts consensus cotton County courthouse culture Dave Dennis Delta demand dents develop DIAGRAM displacement effort eighth grade Ella Baker Fannie Lou Hamer freedom freedom riders gebra going Greenwood Hamer high school idea involved issue Jackson James Jitney Jungle kids kind King Open L(HSQ L(PK learning Leflore County Maisha Marlboro County math literacy mathematics McComb meeting MFDP middle school Mississippi move NAACP North Carolina open program organizing parents participate percent political problem question school system SCLC sit-ins sixth graders SNCC SNCC's South Southern started Street Sunflower County Taba take algebra talk teachers teaching things tion told transition curriculum trip trying vote voter registration walked Weldon workshops young
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