Faculty & Staff

Eric (Rico) Gutstein, PhD


Rico Gutstein's research and teaching interests include mathematics education, teaching for social justice and critical literacies in an urban, multicultural context.

He also focuses on Freirean approaches to teaching/learning and Chicago school policy.


1993 - PhD, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Computer Sciences

Research & Teaching Interests

My research and teaching interests include mathematics education, teaching for social justice and critical literacies in an urban, multicultural context, Freirean approaches to teaching/learning, and Chicago school policy.

In my work, I argue that K-12 students need to be prepared through their mathematics education to investigate and critique injustice (such as racism and language discrimination), and to challenge, in words and actions, oppressive structures and acts. I prepare teachers who can teach mathematics and other subjects in this manner to students in urban settings.

I have taught mathematics for social justice in my own classroom in a Chicago public middle school and a high school, the Greater Lawndale/Little Village High School for Social Justice (also a public school). There I co-taught with and supported math teachers, helped teachers and students develop/teach/learn from social justice mathematics projects, and worked for years with a group of students who were co-researchers, public advocates, and spokespeople for teaching and learning mathematics for social justice. Together, we (teachers, students, myself) studied the process of creating a critical mathematics program for the school, focused on developing students' sociopolitical consciousness, sense of social agency, and their strong cultural/social identities. 

I am also a co-founder of Teachers for Social Justice, a 15-year old education activist organization supporting teachers both in and outside of the classroom. TSJ works to help teachers rethink classroom practices and, in partnership with community organizations and the Chicago Teachers Union, is active in the struggle against education privatization locally and nationally.

Selected Publications

Gutstein, E. (2006). Reading and writing the world with mathematics: Toward a pedagogy for social justice. New York: Routledge.

Gutstein, E., & Peterson, B. (Eds.). (2013). Rethinking mathematics: Teaching social justice by the numbers (2nd Ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.

Gutstein, E., & Lipman, P. (2013). Rebirth of the Chicago Teachers Union and possibilities for a counter-hegemonic education movement. Monthly Review, 65(2), 1-10.

Gutstein, E. (2013). Whose community is this? Mathematics of neighborhood displacement. Rethinking Schools, 27(3), 11-17.

Gutstein, E. (2012). Reflections on teaching and learning mathematics for social justice in urban schools. In A. A. Wager & D. W. Stinson (Eds.), Teaching mathematics for social justice: Conversations with mathematics educators (pp. 63-78). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Gutstein, E. (2012). Mathematics as a weapon in the struggle. In B. Greer & O. Skovsmose (Eds.), Opening the cage: Critique and politics of mathematics education (pp. 23-48). New York: Sense Publishers.

Gutstein, E. (2012). Using critical mathematics to understand the conditions of our lives. In T. Wrigley, P. Thomson, & B. Lingard (Eds.), Changing schools: Alternative ways to make a world of difference (pp. 181-193). New York: Routledge.

Gutstein, E. (2010). The Common Core State Standards Initiative—A critical response. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 3(1), 9-18.

Brown, J., Gutstein, E., & Lipman, P. (2009). Arne Duncan and the Chicago success story: Myth or reality? Rethinking Schools, 23(3), 10-14.

Gutstein, E. (2009). The politics of mathematics education in the United States: Dominant and counter agendas. In B. Greer, S. Mukhopadhyay, S. Nelson-Barber, & A. Powell (Eds.), Culturally responsive mathematics education (pp. 137-164),  New York: Routledge.

Gutstein, E. (2007). “And that’s just how it starts”: Teaching mathematics and developing student agency. Teachers College Record, 109, 420-448.

Gutstein, E. (2007). Connecting community, critical, and classical knowledge in teaching mathematics for social justice. The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, Monograph 1, 109-118.

Gutstein, E. (2007). Multiple language use and mathematics: Politicizing the discussion. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 64, 243-246.

Gutstein, E. (2008). Building political relationships with students: What social justice mathematics pedagogy requires of teachers. In E. de Freitas` & K. Nolan (Eds.), Opening the research text: Critical insights and in(ter)ventions into mathematics education (pp. 189-204). New York: Springer.

Gutstein, E. (2006). “So one question leads to another”: Using mathematics to develop a pedagogy of questioning. In N. S. Nasir & P. Cobb (Eds.), Increasing access to mathematics: Diversity and equity in the classroom (pp. 51-68). New York: Teachers College Press.

Honors & Awards

2008 - Great Cities Institute Faculty Scholar (2008-09)

2000 - Excellence in Public Service award, DePaul University.

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago)

American Educational Research Association

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Benjamin Banneker Society