The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #18/2009

Social justice and mathematics education: Issues, Dilemmas, Excellence and Equity

Bharath Sriraman
The University of Montana

Olof Steinthorsdottir
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


This article explores reasons for educational research and practice in social justice from evolutionary, ideological and philosophical viewpoints. The tension between nihilistic and empathetic tendencies within our history is used to reflexively examine the origins and causes of inequity with emphasis on the works of giants such as Paolo Freire, John Dewey, Karl Marx, and Vivekananda. Finally we address one particular issue in depth, namely the tension between excellence and equity in talent development in schools, east and west.

Keywords: East versus West; political issues in mathematics education; philosophy of education; social justice issues; talent development gifted and talented learners

AMS Subject Classification: 97

Pdf: Preprint of chapter to appear in P. Ernest, B. Greer & B. Sriraman (Eds). Critical Issues in mathematics education. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC.