Quantitative Reasoning through Social Justice

Math for the People is a new approach to teaching Quantitative Literacy to students outside of traditional STEM fields. By leading with social justice topics, Math for the People seeks to introduce students first to the problems we want to solve, and then introduce the mathematics we can use to understand them. The textbook is intended for a college freshman level course in quantitative literacy at a two or four-year postsecondary institution. This course would fulfill a terminal mathematics requirement for students whose degree programs do not require any further mathematics.

The text will be structured in stand-alone modules, each related to a single social justice topic. Each module will begin with an overview of the topic, historical context, and a discussion of current questions and concerns related to the topic. This section may include particular case studies related to the topic, articles discussing the topic, and other resources. This section will followed by discussion prompts for faculty to use in helping students explore the issue.

The mathematical content will follow. Each topic will be paired with 2-4 mathematical topics which will help the reader to ask questions and build understanding about the social justice topic being discussed. These mathematical topic sections will be connected directly to the social justice topic. The same mathematical topic may be repeated in multiple places throughout the text (for example, a section on exponential growth may be included in the module on climate change as well as the module on predatory lending – in each section, the topics would be couched in examples related to the social justice topic).