One of the most serious problems in mathematics education continues to be the dismal statewide mathematics proficiency test performance of African-American students in urban schools. It has been argued that one of the best ways to improve performance is by connecting the pedagogy of mathematics to the lives and experiences of these students. Although many theories have been implemented in the urban mathematics classroom to assist African-American students in developing and increasing conceptual understanding, members of the urban mathematics education community should take a closer, more serious look at the implementation of radical constructivism within urban mathematics classrooms.

A number of scholars, including Joyce Ladner in sociology, James Cone in theology, Robert L. Allen in political science, James A. Banks in education, Derrick A. Bell Jr. in law, and William F. Tate in mathematics education have moved beyond the traditional paradigmatic boundaries of their respective fields to provide a more cogent analysis of the African-American experience. This boundary crossing represents a significant theoretical and interpretive resource to the academic community. This article moves beyond the traditional boundaries of the field of mathematics education and examines radical constructivism as an adequate research framework for learning mathematics in the urban mathematics classroom.


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