Access, Equity and Empowerment – A Report from the Affiliate Leadership Conference

Submitted by: Anna Thompson, Region 8 Director, and Emily Larsen, President Elect

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics held its annual Affiliate Leadership Conference this summer. We attended the conference representing the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The focus of this year’s conference was to frame the WHY of our organization in order to connect to the heart of our members and their work as educators. Simon Sinek’s text, “Start with Why” was the primary focus of the conference. (Follow this Link for Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk: )

Matt Larson, NCTM President, addressed the group several times during the conference. His opening address included an update on NCTM’s Strategic Priorities. The Access, Equity and Empowerment priority resonates particularly well with the work of MCTM and supports our belief in equitable practices that support our mission: “The MCTM is an organization of professionals dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of meaningful mathematics for all students by supporting educators in their efforts to improve mathematics instruction.”

Two of NCTM’s actions related to this priority statement include:

● Stop using deficit language
● Expand beyond Access & Equity, to include concepts of Identity, Agency, & Social Justice
(Larson, M (July 2016). Proceedings from NCTM Affiliate Leaders Conference: Matt Larson Opening Remarks. Las Vegas, NV: NCTM. )

As we consider our work statewide to meet our organization’s mission and as an affiliate of NCTM, there are many resources that currently exist and many more to come. Coming soon are grade-band books that will elaborate on the Principles to Actions text and will include content developed to address the priority statements.

Two other NCTM affiliates, NCSM and TODOS, have created a joint position statement titled: Social Justice Mathematics Education Through the Lens of Social Justice: Acknowledgment, Actions, and Accountability. For more information check here:

Organizations like TODOS and Benjamin Banneker Association who is also an affiliate of NCTM provide additional resources specifically about mathematics.


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