Books: Non-Fiction

Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project

Book — Non-fiction. By Robert P. Moses and Charles E. Cobb Jr. 2001. 256 pages.
Algebra Project founder on math literacy and civil rights.

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001-
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Education, Math

3127At a time when popular solutions to failing schools 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.

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 success stories of schools like the predominately low-income Hart School in Bessemer, Alabama, which outscored the city’s middle-class flagship school in just three years. [Publisher’s description.]

ISBN: 9780807031278 | Beacon Press