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Beyond Missionaries or Cannibals: Who should teach mathematics to African American Children?

Abstract

Guided by a general critique that asks, Highly qualified for whom?, I problematize recent characterizations of highly qualified mathe- matics teachers by focusing on the question, Who should teach mathematics to African American children? I discuss how responses to this question in mainstream mathematics edu- cation research and policy contexts have drawn on discursive frames that support color- blind racism, that focus only on achievement outcomes, and that propose "missionaries" and "cannibals" as the kinds of teachers most appropriate for African American children. I propose a refocusing of mathematics educa- tion research and policy that gives meaningful attention to the ways that African American children experience mathematics in schools and life as African American

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