Synopses & Reviews
At a time when popular solutions to the educational plight of poor children of color 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.
Begun in 1982, the Algebra Project is transforming math education in twenty-five cities. Founded on the belief that math-science literacy is a prerequisite for full citizenship in society, the Project works with entire communities parents, teachers, and especially students to create a culture of literacy around algebra, a crucial stepping-stone to college math and opportunity.
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 remarkable success stories of schools like the predominately poor Hart School in Bessemer, Alabama, which outscored the city's middle-class flagship school in just three years.
Radical Equations provides a model for anyone looking for a community-based solution to the problems of our disadvantaged schools.
"Peppered with anecdotes and quotations from participants, this dense book is surprisingly captivating.....[A] radical equation indeed." Publishers Weekly
"A surprising study of continuity and change in the struggle to reduce inequality and empower communities." Booklist
Through personal narrative and impassioned argument, activist Bob Moses shows the lessons of the civil rights movement at work in a remarkable educational movement today, a math literacy program called the Algebra Project.
About the Author
A leader in the African American community for nearly 40 years, Robert Moses is the winner of many awards, including the MacArthur genius award and a prestigious Heinz Award for his work in the Algebra Project.
Charles E. Cobb Jr. originated the " Freedom School" proposal that became a crucial part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. A founding member of the Nnational Association of Black Journalists, Cobb has reported for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C.; NPR; PBS's "Frontline"; and "National Geographic". Cobb is a senior writer for AllAfrica.com.