*(Preview of pg. 1)*

We hang posters in our classrooms, make t-shirts, and theme conferences around the mantra: **ALL students can learn math.** Is that *really* true, though? In theory, yes. It is true. The reality is, however, that many students are not learning math. In fact, only 40% of 4^{th} graders are proficient in grade-level math. It gets worse. By 8^{th} grade, only 33% are proficient at grade-level math (NAEP, 2018).

Why aren’t the posters, t-shirts, and mantras working?

**We cannot preach that ALL students can learn math when we teach in a way that makes learning math inaccessible to SO MANY.**

Many teachers have been trying to solve the seemingly unsolvable math problem of why some students are performing so poorly in math. Some call it closing the math achievement gap, centering our math instruction, or reaching the students in the margins. Whatever you call it, the solution (like many great math problems) is found by asking the right questions.

Many great teachers and school leaders spend time reflecting and wondering how they can be better. For many, their questions have the word “I” in them, such as “How should I set up my classroom? What programs or curriculum will I use this year? What is the latest tech tool that I could use in my classroom?” (and on and on). But using the word “I” puts the focus on the teacher, rather than the learner.

To create mathematical environments where ALL students can learn math, focus on the questions **students** are asking. Your students ask far different* *questions than you would as they prepare for a day at school or even another year. These questions, and the resulting answers you provide, determine whether learning math is truly accessible to ALL students.