Abstract / Synopsis

Progress is possible. When I graduated from college, only $5\%$ of the new U.S. doctorates in mathematics went to women; now it is about $30\%$. There is of course room (and need) for more progress. This paper begins with an account of my research about women and black mathematicians. The latter group claimed that racial equality can be achieved only when better elementary school mathematics education is available to all children in this country. That motivated me to lead a seven-year, grant-supported program to work with elementary school teachers and children in nine New Jersey districts, including Newark, Paterson, and Passaic. I share some disturbing, startling stories about this time as well as some stories of remarkable success. Recent admonitions to ``raise standards for all'' motivate a personal story about my mentally retarded brother; he and I needed and were given very different types of education. I then offer nine reasons for promoting mathematics education for all, three things good teachers need, and a few more suggestions for improving equity and education. The paper includes photographs and references to important books.