Algebra as a Civil Right
This paper addresses the argument that algebra should be viewed as a civil right and mode for social justice. The framing question addressed is, “How and why is algebra a civil right?” The goal of the paper is to discuss how effective algebra instruction is beneficial for students beyond academic achievement. Algebraic knowledge provides students with a skill set that they can employ to better understand, evaluate, analyze, and critique the society in which they live. Through logical skills and quantitative analysis, students are able to view the world through a reflective and transformative lens. The conceptual frameworks for this paper include the tenets of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Social Justice Pedagogy. While some may argue that math is not for everyone because some jobs do not explicitly use algebra, these pedagogical philosophies allow educators to see the benefits that algebra has beyond mathematical literacy and achievement. If algebra is taught as relevant to students’ lives and as a tool for building equity, students can transfer their mathematical knowledge outside the classroom. During this paper, the Algebra Project will be used as an exemplary initiative to demonstrate both the academic and social benefits of high quality algebra instruction.