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Education pioneer to discuss math literacy, Nov. 5

Civil rights activist and education pioneer Robert Moses will present a lecture at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, in McCosh 10.

Moses, who is founder of the Algebra Project, will speak on "The Presumption of Innocence, Sharecropper Education and Americas Ideals."

The Algebra Project is an interactive curriculum designed to help inner-city and rural students better understand mathematical concepts. Moses, a former civil rights organizer in the South, believes that the current crisis in math literacy in poor communities is as crucial as the crisis of political access in Mississippi in the '60s. He writes in his book, "Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights" (Beacon Press, 2001), that just as the sharecroppers were "living in serfdom on plantations, we are growing similar serf-like communities within our cities today."

The ticket to better economic opportunity, he believes, is for every child to master algebra by the eighth grade, because algebra is an important link to a college-prep curriculum.

Moses started the Algebra Project in 1982, when his daughter was in eighth grade and her school did not offer algebra. He began tutoring her and three of her classmates. Under a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation, he expanded the project across the country. It now reaches more than 40,000 low-income students in 25 cities and rural areas.

The approach features practical methods, such as using subway maps to teach students to calculate distances, as well as techniques such as African drums, role playing and games to make learning enjoyable.

Moses' talk is designated as the Spencer Trask Lecture and is part of the 2001-02 Public Lectures Series . It will be Webcast; for viewing information, click here .

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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