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California endeavors to do away with 'white supremacy culture' in the mathematics classroom

Is math racist, or is it just math instruction in the United States that’s racist? We’ve written quite a few posts on how states and school districts are struggling with the question. Virginia moved to do away with all advanced-level math classes before 11th grade as part of an “equity-focused plan.” We posted a thread on teachers, educators, and professors arguing that 2+2=5, or more precisely, 2+2 doesn’t always equal 4.

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Seattle Public Schools introduced a document titled, “K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework,” which adds to the math curriculum such questions as, “How is math manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to persist?” The Oregon Department of Education argued that asking students in math class to “show their work” is “white supremacy.” So is focusing on getting the correct answer. We wish we were making this up but we’ve read the documents.

There’s some refreshing pushback in the Wall Street Journal courtesy of Williamson M. Evers, who argues that California’s proposed curriculum framework “aims low, abandons the gifted, and preaches ‘social justice.'” He writes:

If California education officials have their way, generations of students may not know how to calculate an apartment’s square footage or the area of a farm field, but the “mathematics” of political agitation and organizing will be second nature to them. Encouraging those gifted in math to shine will be a distant memory.

This will be the result if a proposed mathematics curriculum framework, which would guide K-12 instruction in the Golden State’s public schools, is approved by California’s Instructional Quality Commission in meetings this week and in August and ratified by the state board of education later this year.

The framework recommends eight times that teachers use a troubling document, “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.” This manual claims that teachers addressing students’ mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy.

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Yep, it’s that anti-racist framework again:

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According to that study of “whiteness” going around, objectivity is a characteristic of white supremacy.

The worst part is, they think they’re helping.


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