My blog yesterday regarding math curriculum being too abstract got a comment from Milo's Mama, who passed along an article on the racial wealth gap. Her point was that there were more practical things we could be teaching in math, such as finance, taxes, etc. that might address this problem. So we are back to the relevancy of what we teach. And as I drove home from the gym this morning, I hear yet another story on NPR about the racial wealth gap (turns out it's a two parter!). I took this as a sign that I should perhaps do a follow up!
This second part of the story talked about breaking the cycle of poverty, and mentions several programs designed to help low-income families save money, invest and basically teach them about using money wisely. One of these programs starts with kindergarten because, as the City Treasure Jose Cisnero's says '"It's all about building aspirations in that child's mind."
I am not going to go into details about the programs - you can read the article yourself. You will notice, a lot of the programs focus on financial skills - something I think is sorely missing in our math curriculum, and this just provides a bit of evidence. I think, as Milo's Mama said and as I suggested yesterday, we need to provide more practical options for students to support their reality. We need to look at things like our wealth gap and realize that we aren't helping the situation if our sights are always set towards achieving some arbitrary score on a standardized test rather than providing practical skills that can provide some understanding of reality and some hope. With that hope comes aspirations to achieve and learn more and get that passing score on the standardized test. I see it as all connected.