Antiracist Algebra Coalition

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

james Baldwin


The purpose of the Antiracist Algebra Coalition is to connect Syracuse community members and stakeholders in education to explore the intersection of antiracism and students’ success in algebra in Syracuse.

We aim to educate ourselves, educate others, and advocate for change.

Ongoing Work & History of the Antiracist Algebra Coalition:

  • In 2023 we are convening youth — Data Warriors — in group settings to share their passions and interests in addressing environmental justice in Syracuse with a math lens. This work will build our capacity to design new math lessons, and host community-engaged events while centering young people’s voices in antiracist algebra.
  • Our focus in Summer 2022 continues in 2023. We are studying how antiracist algebra teaching supports students’ learning by leveraging Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s “cultivating genius” lens. Dr. Muhammad’s (2020) culturally and historically responsive literacy framework centers joy, criticality, intellect, skill, and identity. See this visual interpretation of her lens from a math perspective. Cultivating math genius.
  • In Spring 2022 our work is focused on designing and implementing social justice math units in high school and middle school. We hosted the community-engaged math event “A Sense of Place” on May 7, 2022.
  • Fall 2021 Work Sessions were held in October and November and focused on Black Brilliance and Mathematics Coaching
  • Spring 2021 was the initial convening of the group to set aims, visions, and foci of our work.

Features in the News and Press

Teaching is a Journey: A Journey Toward Anti-Racist Practice

Read more about Nicole’s Journey toward antiracism as an antiracist math educator. Or watch the video below as Nicole describes a Zine she created to share part of this story.

The Work of Antiracism

The work of antiracism is an active process of interrogating and dismantling processes and policies that contribute to inequitable opportunities for racial groups along a hierarchy. This includes individual, interpersonal, and structural forms of racism.

Education and Advocacy Aims

  1. Educate ourselves — What are local social, racial, and environmental justice issues that youth care about? How can these issues be connected to goals of meaningful algebra learning in schools?
  2. Educate others — How can we build relationships and engage in dialogue with thought leaders and community members to promote problem solving and innovation?
  3. Advocate for Change — How can we support social advocacy through education and programming? How might decision makers and instructional leaders engage in these activities?

Why Antiracism in Algebra in Syracuse?

All students in New York state need to pass Algebra and the Algebra Regents Exam in order to graduate high school. Otherwise, Algebra serves as a gatekeeper for students’ success. 

Algebra is a gatekeeper to graduation – if you don’t pass algebra, and don’t pass the Algebra Regents in New York State, you won’t graduate high school. If you don’t graduate high school, it will be much more difficult to get a job along a meaningful college and career pathway.

Disproportionality in access and outcomes is often an indicator of racist policy and practice. Part of our work is to interrogate the practices and policies that contribute to inequities along racial lines.

Who graduates high school? If 2 out of 10 high schoolers are white, and 2 out of 6 high schoolers graduate, this is disproportional.

Guiding Questions at the Classroom, School, and District Levels

  1. How can math teachers take action in classroom settings to disrupt racism? What are innovative approaches to algebra curriculum and instruction that are antiracist?
  2. How are the practices and policies governing school algebra in urban districts “gatekeeping” Black students’ success?
  3. What actions need to be taken to dismantle racist policies and practices governing school Algebra in urban districts?
The work of antiracism in algebra involves identifying and dismantling policies and practices that perpetuate inequities in black and brown students’ opportunities to learn math (algebra) in meaningful ways.

An Invitation for “Cogen” Leaders

We are recruiting a racially diverse group of youth, teachers, researchers, administrators, parents, and community members dedicated to racial justice in Syracuse, NY to co-lead this effort. Cogen leaders will co-construct and co-lead a working and learning group focused on racial justice in algebra education.

Are you dedicated to racial justice for youth who identify as people of color in Syracuse, NY?

Are you a stakeholder in public education in Syracuse, NY 
(a parent, teacher, student, leader, public official, administrator, or community member)? 

…. If you answered yes, then your voice needs to be heard.

“An equitable, liberating system of education is possible.” Please sign up, and explore this site to learn more. I look forward to connecting with you.

You can learn more about the project by viewing an overview slide show here.


Please reach out to Nicole L. Fonger to learn more about the project. Nicole is a dedicated SCSD parent, Syracuse community member, artist, writer, and math education professor at Syracuse University.

From the blog

%d bloggers like this: