Mr. A-K’s Classroom
Musiri Abdal-Khallaq (known to his students as Mr. A-K) teaches math at Boston Adult Technical Academy to 19-22 year old students who are recent immigrants to the United States or returning students within BPS who had interrupted education. He submitted a project he designed around the Mos Def song “Mathematics,” as an introduction to a unit on data and statistics. The students find statistics within the song and use their analysis of the statistics to analyze the lyrics themselves. The project is meant to hook students into the unit, and the song itself contains many statistics that speak to the oppression faced by people of color, particularly Black people in the United States. To Mr. A-K, this project is a way to help students see how the study of data and statistics can enable them to better understand their lived realities and experiences under structures of oppression, especially white supremacy. As an African-American educator himself, this lesson is also a way to connect personally with students, even those who may be less familiar with the African-American experience, and share his own passion for music.