Tracing Equity Discourses in Mathematics Education
Erica Bullock

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Mathematics Education
For nearly 40 years, mathematics education has engaged in various efforts to address equity for students who, for various reasons related to identity and demography, are unsuccessful in and disconnected from mathematics. Despite this prolonged attention to equity in scholarship, curriculum, policy, and teacher education, the gap between less privileged students and their more privileged counterparts has been consistent. Many scholars have raised the concern that equity efforts have not yielded the gains that the time, attention, and resources given them would dictate. However, there does not exist an empirical evaluation of equity discourse on a large scale. In this study, I will use discourse tracing—an approach to critical discourse analysis—as a four-phase methodological approach that allows for mapping the proliferation of equity discourses over time. Through this mapping, I will examine the successes and limitations of equity discourse and consider ways in which the field can move toward addressing and eliminating inequities. Data for this study include scholarly literature, policy and curriculum documents, and unstructured interviews with equity-oriented scholars in mathematics education. This tracing will provide a picture of equity in mathematics education over time that can function as a resource in future curriculum and policy discussions within and outside the mathematics education community.
About Erica Bullock
Erika C. Bullock is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Bullock earned a B.S. in computer science from Spelman College and a M.Ed. and Ph.D. in mathematics education from Georgia State University. In her scholarship, Dr. Bullock seeks to create new possibilities for mathematics education by confronting the field’s epistemic limitations—both past and current. Her research seeks to interrogate the boundaries of mathematics education as both a historical product and cultural practice, particularly related to questions of equity and opportunity. The research connects different social, cultural, and historical disciplines outside of education to engage in studies of mathematics education. She employs critical theories of race, standpoint feminism, and literatures from sociology, geography, curriculum studies, and the history of science. Dr. Bullock’s published work has appeared in Educational Studies in Mathematics, The Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, The Journal of Education, The Mathematics Enthusiast, and Teachers College Record. She is also Associate to the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Urban Mathematics Education.

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