Plenary Speaker Profile (2007)
Danny Bernard Martin
Associate Professor of Mathematics Education and Mathematics, and Department Chair of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Illinois at Chicago
Who Can Do Math and Science? Deconstructing the Rhetoric and Reality of So-Called Racial Achievement Gaps

Embedded in recent mathematics education and science education reform movements are stated concerns for equity and diversity as evidenced by slogans such as Mathematics for All and Science for All. These concerns about equity and diversity are partly related to a desire to eliminate differences in achievement and participation among various subgroups of students. Researchers and policy makers have conceptualized these differences as racial achievement gaps. Additionally, concerns for equity and diversity in mathematics and science education have been fueled by a desire to maintain United States competitiveness in an increasingly technological world. Linking these concerns is the belief that more rigorous mathematics and science education for underrepresented students will provide a more diverse workforce and address shortages in many technical fields. In this presentation, I draw from my research and mathematics teaching experiences in middle school, high school, community college, and university contexts to offer a critique of this equity and diversity rhetoric, with a particular focus on the notion of a racial achievement gap. I bring to bear (a) critical perspectives on the purposes and goals of mathematics and science teaching and learning, (b) the power of research on the sociology of race, and (c) data gathered from African American mathematics and science learners.

Dr. Martin received his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from University of California, Berkeley in 1997. He teaches courses in the undergraduate elementary education program and the Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to coming to UIC, he was Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Contra Costa College for 14 years, serving as Chair from 2001 to 2004, and was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow from 1998-2000. His broader research interests support a focus on mathematics socialization and the construction of mathematics identities among African American adults and adolescents. He is currently developing a perspective that frames mathematics learning and participation as racialized forms of experience. He is author of the book, Mathematics success and failure among African American youth: The roles of sociohistorical context, community forces, school influence, and individual agency.