Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Equitable education and newcomer students

Elizabeth Elia


Mathematics education is a gateway to high-paying careers and equitable participation within society. Utilizing a perspective focused on culturally sustainable pedagogy and politicized funds of knowledge, this study works to identify potential barriers to equitable education and provide recommendations for macro and micro policies that can help move society towards the goals of social justice. This paper works to build an understanding of macro-level policy utilizing a micro-level case study. The case study describes and builds on promising practices in mathematics education for Newcomer students, with the goal of providing greater context and resources to Harrisonburg High School. Ultimately, Harrisonburg High School is an outstanding example to Newcomer Programs across the country, integrating culture and student engagement into nearly all aspects of the school experience. Due to expressed need from the school, I develop a review of current practices within Harrisonburg High School and promising practices for Newcomer education overall, framing them within the context of social justice issues and policy debates. I ultimately provide suggestions for growth within the school system and individual classrooms. The findings of this study point towards opportunities for increased sheltered education courses and summer programs as well as in-class practices that offer space for educators to provide for the specific needs of Newcomer students. I discuss these findings within the broader understanding of social justice and explore topics including racial tension, biased testing standards, and funding structures. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to provide increased context for educators in the hopes of better serving Newcomer students across the country in the pursuit of equitable education.