Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Robin R. Hurst


Two significant crises facing communities of color are climate and environmental injustices (Schlosberg & Collins, 2014) and the achievement gap in standardized test performance as an impact of inequitable educational experiences rooted in a history of social inequities (Agarwal, 2011; Milner, 2020). Previous studies on teaching mathematics for social justice demonstrate positive student outcomes from this practice (Berry, 2008; Gutstein, 2006). Existing literature also points to benefits when focusing on a specific social justice topic during mathematics instruction (Bartell, 2013; Stocker, 2012). However, few studies focus on math leaders’ perceptions of teaching mathematics for climate and environmental justice (TMCEJ).

This study applied a basic qualitative research design to explore math leaders’ social justice pedagogical practices and perceptions of professional development needs for TMCEJ. Critical Race Theory was the theoretical framework applied to this exploratory study because it supports researchers in placing race central to the research (Delgado & Stefancic, 2017). The participants for this study comprised five Title I math leaders who engaged in social justice pedagogy as classroom teachers. Tentative conclusions revealed that math leaders could support students in engaging mathematics to identify operative social constructs. However, few stories demonstrated discussions progressing to forms of student activism. This exploratory study also revealed that while the existing educational structure is not intended to support social justice pedagogical practices, math leaders had recommendations for navigating educational domains. Math leaders also shared favorable perceptions of a TMCEJ initiative and professional development considerations for this initiative despite the limitations of the state-mandated curriculum.


© Angela M. Allen

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Date of Submission


Available for download on Tuesday, May 07, 2024