Roots of Resistance

  • Identifying Sources of Resistance
  • Strategies to Overcome Resistance
  • Call to Action

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi:

Roots of Resistance:

Navigating Challenges to Establishing Equity in Your Math Programming

Equity in math education is critical for developing an inclusive and effective learning environment. However, initiating school changes is often met with resistance, a natural response to new ideas that challenge traditional methods. Our math programs often miss the mark when it comes to equity-driven instruction. Understanding and managing this resistance is crucial for successfully implementing equity-driven practices.

Identifying Sources of Resistance

Lack of Understanding
Many resistances come from a basic misunderstanding of what equity means. It’s important to clarify that equity in education seeks to give every student access to opportunities for success, recognizing that different students may require different resources and support to achieve these outcomes. This can feel overwhelming to our educators, who have so much on their plate, but as instructional leaders, we can provide a ton of support to make this happen.

Fear of Change
Changes in long-established practices can be disruptive. I often hear that schools are concerned that this is another new thing being added to already full plates. Our role is to listen to these fears and provide a safe space for educators to express concerns. 

Perceived Threats to Standards
Some educators fear that focusing on equity could dilute academic rigor. It’s important to address these concerns directly and demonstrate that equity can only enhance and strengthen academic excellence.

Strategies to Overcome Resistance


Education and Awareness

Conducting workshops and professional development sessions can help illuminate the benefits of equity-focused education. Utilizing evidence and case studies that showcase successful initiatives can also be persuasive.


Inclusive Communication

Open dialogue is essential. Creating spaces where concerns can be voiced and discussed helps to understand and gradually reduce resistance.


Highlighting Benefits

Focus on how equity improves outcomes for all students, not just those who are marginalized. Sharing success stories and testimonials from schools that have embraced these changes can inspire and motivate.


Building a Supportive Community

Developing a community of educators who support and advocate for equity can facilitate wider acceptance. This community can also provide peer-to-peer mentoring and support. Introduce changes in phases to allow educators time to adjust. Starting with small, voluntary pilot programs can demonstrate the impact and benefits before wider implementation.


Photo by RDNE Stock project:

Call to Action: Equity in Math Education

The journey towards fully integrated equity in math education is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires persistence, resilience, and a commitment to continuous improvement and adaptation. Engage with the community by sharing your experiences or joining our upcoming webinar on managing resistance in educational settings. Your insights and participation are invaluable as we transform educational practices.



Elly Blanco-Rowe

“Equity is not about obedience, legislation, and political correctness. Equity, in the end, will merge with the rich, global history of mathematics that permeated every culture, civilization, and class hierarchy in the world. Equity is about celebration of our historical diversity.” – Sunil Singh


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