chapter  3
32 Pages

Reading the World with Mathematics: Developing Sociopolitical Consciousness

My views about the world have changed the most. This class has helped me understand issues like poverty, hunger, wealth, equality, and racism. I mean before I thought people lived in nice houses because they worked and others were poor because they didn’t work. Now I know that sometimes wealth is not distributed evenly and that racism sometimes affects economical problems. (Freida, 8th grade, May 1999)

I live in the Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago, with a lot of brick bungalows and two-flats with small yards. Most people there who own houses mow their own grass, but retirees and some others use garden services. Every Tuesday for years, I knew it was Tuesday because I would look out my window and see a crew working on a neighbor’s yard. An older white man sat in a pickup truck, reading the newspaper, while several younger Latinos scurried around, doing all the work at high speed. Every Tuesday, the same story. My wife and I would comment on it. Below is my journal entry from the first week of class in 1998, with the eighth graders in my two-year class; I taught them most of their seventh grade, so we knew each other well by then.