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California Board of Education Puts Pause on Proposed Calculus-Free Math Curriculum

California Board of Education Puts Pause on Proposed Calculus-Free Math Curriculum

The social justice “math” didn’t add up in the face of backlash and reason.

In early May, we reported that the California Board of Education was proposing to eliminate calculus and revise its mathematics curriculum to make it more…equitable.

Subsequently, there was a backlash tsunami from the state’s parents, whose children will eventually have to compete for colleges and jobs in the real world.

Now the board is pausing its implementation.

The California Board of Education will not implement its newly proposed mathematics curriculum after critics argued its racial equality components would “de-mathematize math.”

The Mathematics Curriculum Framework is expected to be postponed for 10 months, until May 2022, after a board meeting vote on Wednesday.

“California is on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way. This postponement means the State Board of Education has heard the message loud and clear. STEM leaders don’t want California students left behind by introducing politics into the math curriculum,” said Dr. Williamson M. Evers, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, in a statement following an open letter he pinned to California’s education and political leaders.

Hundreds of teachers and those working in science, math, and engineering fields protested the move. The wrote and open letter protesting the move, and their assessment was brutal.

The proposed framework would, in effect, de-mathematize math.

For all the rhetoric in this framework about equity, social justice, environmental care and culturally appropriate pedagogy, there is no realistic hope for a more fair, just, equal and well-stewarded society if our schools uproot long-proven, reliable and highly effective math methods and instead try to build a mathless Brave New World on a foundation of unsound ideology.

A real champion of equity and justice would want all California’s children to learn actual math—as in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus—not an endless river of new pedagogical fads that effectively distort and displace actual math. The proposed framework:

  • Promotes fringe teaching methods such as “trauma-informed pedagogy.”
  • Distracts from actual mathematics by having teachers insert “environmental and social justice” into the math curriculum.
  • Distracts from actual mathematics by having teachers develop students’ “sociopolitical consciousness.”
  • Distracts from actual mathematics by assigning students—as schoolwork—tasks it says will solve “problems that result in social inequalities.”
  • Urges teachers to take a “justice-oriented perspective at any grade level, K–12” and explicitly rejects the idea that mathematics itself is a “neutral discipline.”
  • Encourages focusing on “contributions that historically marginalized people have made to mathematics” rather than on those contributions themselves which have been essential to the academic discipline of mathematics.
  • “Reject[s] ideas of natural gifts and talents” and discourages accelerating talented mathematics students.
  • Encourages keeping all students together in the same math program until the 11th grade and argues that offering differentiated programs causes student “fragility” and racial animosity.
  • Rejects the longstanding goal of preparing students to take Algebra I in eighth grade, on par with high-performing foreign countries whose inhabitants will be future competitors of America’s children—a goal explicitly part of the 1999 and 2006 Math Frameworks.

I suspect that the move, in part, is related to the upcoming recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Do doubt many parents would vent their anger about the dumbing-down of school courses and the social justice revisions to materials on our hapless governor.

After all, parents are still upset over delays in getting children back into the classroom.

And the delay will not be the only issue. To be sure, Newsom’s hypocrisy in sending his children to private school will also be an issue.

Meanwhile, let us hope that there is a recalculation in the wisdom of implementing race-based math and that the pause becomes an erasure.


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The people pushing it already know it is a bad idea for teaching/learning math.

    Arminius in reply to Dathurtz. | July 20, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    That’s the point.

    This is about a Baltimore HS senior who only passed 3 classes in 4 years, yet the school continued to promote him. And he was ranked 62 out of 120 students. So in Baltimore public schools a 0.1374 GPA almost puts a student in the top half of his class.

    In other words, another success story for the teachers unions. I’m not being sarcastic; I’m serious when I call this kid a success story. The teachers unions are run by leftists who are huge fans of Marxism. I wish I could find the pictures but I’ve seen pictures of protesters from public employee unions, including teachers unions, marching with the hammer and sickle banner.

    If you want to push the lie that America is systematically racists, and white supremacy is backed into the cake in the form of our founding documents and our legal system then the best way to make the lie appear to be true is to create the victims of “systemic racism” yourself. As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is fond of pointing out, the demand for racism and white supremacism greatly exceeds the supply. That’s why, for instance, minor celebrity Jussie Smollett had to hire two Nigerian brothers to stage his anti-gay/anti-black hate crime hoax.

    Since the system isn’t actually discriminating against black and brown people (note: immigrants from Subsaharan Africa greatly outperform American-born blacks, and certain national groups outperform American-born whites in terms of just about any measure of success) then just like Jussie Smollett the teachers will stage the hate crime hoax themselves.

    Adopt a theory that it’s racist and “reeks of white supremacism” to actually teach that it’s important to get the right answer in math, and to be able to show your work. Adopt a theory that it’s racist and “reeks of white supremacism” to correct or grade a “BIPOC” writing. Don’t teach grammar or spelling.

    In short, create a self-fulfilling prophecy. When students graduate with zero job skills, or worse when this 17 year old drops out because I sure as hell wouldn’t want to repeat all four years of HS and graduate at 21 if at all, and the only skills they have are criminal (how do you think this kid was spending his time when he largely didn’t show up at school at all) then the Marxists will scream that PROVES America is racist. When if fact the schools didn’t just fail the students. They actively set out to sabotage them.

    So, this kid is a success story considering the teachers unions aren’t there to teach students anything except resentment. There real goal is to bring about the revolution. And Bill Ayers, Obama’s mentor and benefactor who launched his political career, is a lot more influential in shaping America’s “education” system then most of you can possibly imagine.

    “The Ed Schools’ Latest—and Worst—Humbug

    Teaching for “social justice” is a cruel hoax on disadvantaged kids.

    Sol Stern
    Summer 2006 Education; New York

    …Ayers would soon go on to disprove thoroughly F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous though mistaken aphorism that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Ayers’s spectacular second act began when he enrolled at Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1984. Then 40, he planned to stay just to get a teaching credential. (He had taught in a “Freedom School” during his pre-underground student radical days.) But he experienced an epiphany in a course taught by Maxine Greene, a leading light of the “critical pedagogy” movement. As Ayers wrote later, he took fire from Greene’s lectures on how the “oppressive hegemony” of the capitalist social order “reproduces” itself through the traditional practice of public schooling—critical pedagogy’s fancy way of saying that the evil corporations exercise thought control through the schools.

    It hadn’t occurred to Ayers that an ed-school professor could speak or write as an authentic American radical.

    The education professors feel themselves anointed to use the nation’s K–12 classrooms to resist this oppressive system. Thus Maxine Greene urged teachers not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. They should portray “homelessness as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder’s choice.” In other words, they should turn the little ones into young socialists and critical theorists.

    …All music to Bill Ayers’s ears. The ex-Weatherman glimpsed a new radical vocation. He dreamed of bringing the revolution from the streets to the schools. And that’s exactly what he has managed to do…”

    Everything the left says is a lie, except when they feel they’re among friends. That includes what they write, because no non-Marxist is going to wade through their stilted, jargon-laden BS.

    Black lives don’t matter to them. Some black deaths are politically useful (although the vast majority are not). And black failure is politically useful. I absolutely guarantee that if this kid ends up in prison the leftists who indoctrinate kids in our schools to hate America will be pleased with themselves. Because that will pump up the crime statistics that allow them to claim with some apparent but only superficial truth that “mass incarceration” proves America is racist. If he gets killed by the police while committing a crime or attempting to flee arrest, even better for making the false claim that America is racist.

    When you scratch the surface all it proves is that they set the students up to fail.

They already have, for almost all intents and purposes, an algebra free curriculum.

Most HS graduates, including those destined for a four year college, are unable to solve the simplest of algebra problems.

I read somewhere some universities are considering dropping college level algebra class requirements.

On the other hand, they’ll know all about Critical Race Theory. And ‘systemic racism’ and ‘white privilege And LGBTQxxxxx ‘issues’. And about how evil and genocidal and imperialistic capitalist America has been.

Other things they’ll know nothing about…. The Soviet Union and socialism’s 20th century death toll. And the force for good the America has been in the overall context of worldwide human history.

The movie Idiocracy is prophecy.

    Barry in reply to JHogan. | July 18, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    Yes, it’s already a mathematical desert in the schools.

    artichoke in reply to JHogan. | July 18, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    AP calculus ain’t what it used to be. Used to actually have to do integrals (for the BC exam) requiring multiple steps, substitutions, etc. There was a very simple proof on the test. Now it’s just the warmup problems with none of the more challenging ones.

The Friendly Grizzly | July 18, 2021 at 7:07 pm

When I was a youngster, California schools were always at or near the top of the 48 states.

How far the mighty fall.

    And quickly. It takes a long time to build a top nation / state. Falling happens overnight.

    Easier to destroy than to build by far. These sophomoric ideas of Equity are doing lasting damage, some of which can’t be repaired.

    The end state result of this will be bewildering to these folks as they search in vain for someone to fix what they have destroyed.

    Mom and Dad have always supplied these over entitled a line of credit to improve and repair. They will find that the ordinary Citizens of the Nation have zero inclination much less an obligation to do the same.

    Let them wander the desert they are making and deny them entry to our oasis.

Reading, writing and arithmetic are white supremacist ideologies (also valued by communist countries such as China and Cuba). First there was “new math” and then “whole language” followed by decreasing test scores (even by “whites”). I would say this will bring every student down to the lowest common denominator… but that is also a “math” word and forbidden.

    artichoke in reply to alaskabob. | July 18, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Hey don’t disparage “new math” too much. My first grade teacher gave me extra worksheets with “new math” (leading to something like the Peano axioms) because I could handle the arithmetic already. That gave me an introduction to math reasoning and structure that never went away. Following were years in the math desert with no special worksheets, but something was much better than nothing.

      Dathurtz in reply to artichoke. | July 18, 2021 at 9:58 pm

      I have a lot of criticisms of “new math” when used as the default instruction. It does work pretty well for kids that already have good math reasoning. Of course…it wasn’t meant for that.

Ya know, if I was Black I would be totally outraged that these bozos think I am so stupid that I cannot manage to learn calculus and all the rest.

    NYBruin in reply to lhw. | July 18, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Please. They wouldn’t think you can get a photo ID!

    artichoke in reply to lhw. | July 18, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    and it’s the kids whose parents cannot supplement at home who are hurt the worst by this “equitable” curriculum garbage.

    chrisboltssr in reply to lhw. | July 18, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    All of this racism, condescension and insulting speech coming from the mouths of woke, white Leftists and black people still vote for them in droves. For the record I am black and got up to Calc II, but don’t ask me if I remember any of it as I am in a field that doesn’t require complex math.

I figure I’m not destined to die peacefully in my bed. So I’m working on my jokes.

Me, at confession: Bless me father for I have sinned. Last night I made mad passionate love with a threesome from the Swedish bikini team.

Priest: My child, I forgive you. Have you told anyone else about this?

Me: I’m telling everybody.

Situation hopeless. But not serious.

Let’s be clear. A 10 month “pause” is a not a win, it’s a loss. What it means is that they are just waiting for the furor to die down before going ahead with it anyway.

It’s not enough to just drive a stake through the vampire’s heart. You have to burn the corpse to make sure it doesn’t come back someday.

    henrybowman in reply to irv. | July 19, 2021 at 2:51 am

    Or, maybe somebody has actually calculated the limit of arrogance as Newsom approaches recall.

Antifundamentalist | July 18, 2021 at 8:03 pm

The best way to make math “equitable” is to teach arithmetic until it’s been mastered. Then start working on higher maths and basic consumer math and simple economics. But the “equity” they are actually looking for is the lowest common denominator and a population that is too undeducated to realize that the increase in the chocolate ration is actually less than what they were handing out last month.

    And omit useless stuff like “social studies” in favor of more and more math and reading instruction. A well balanced curriculum is not important at all. All that matters is (1) reading, (2) math and (3) writing, after reading is pretty well along. The rest is fluff. Well recess and lunch are important because kids need them. But the rest, quite unimportant.

    I include “science” as taught in elementary school, by teachers who could never do science themselves, when the kids have no math (which means physical science will never be more than “wow look at that!”.

    Although I do still remember the Tacoma Narrows Bridge video we saw in elementary school. Back then, we were a nation devoted to scientific advancement, and people cared about learning to build better bridges and teaching kids to be engineers.

      henrybowman in reply to artichoke. | July 19, 2021 at 2:56 am

      “Social studies” is how you teach the kids how the government and legal system is supposed to work, so they’ll recognize when it doesn’t, which is every day, and maybe do something about it. Probably shouldn’t cut that one, or you’ll end up with kids a lot like many of the dangerous little creeps we have now (e.g., the 35% who erroneously think that “hate speech” is already not deemed protected by the First Amendment).

        artichoke in reply to henrybowman. | July 19, 2021 at 9:35 am

        I disagree. A clue is the word “social studies”, studies in socialism. It’s about being a nice person, a lefty person. It doesn’t tell you what is or isn’t hate speech. In our district they read the preamble to the Constitution, which is a nothing. Not the preamble to the D of I, which is the basis of Americanism. They call it “the preamble” so maybe parents will think it’s the other one they are learning.

        If kids want to learn about law, they need what is taught in law school. Which by the way they should have. Cut through the feelings stuff and find out how our system actually works. It’s very useful for them to know in life.

          artichoke in reply to artichoke. | July 19, 2021 at 9:39 am

          And then with the Constitution, they skip from the preamble to the amendments, especially the first 10 and especially not any in-depth discussion of #14. They skip the actual rules of operating the government contained in the body of the Constitution. And when discussing law, they never read any SCOTUS decisions, which are well written (some brilliantly) and show exactly how our system of legal precedent and lower courts works.

      Hollymon in reply to artichoke. | July 20, 2021 at 11:22 am

      No art, no music, no physical education? Your school sounds a lot like an internment camp. Humans are not robots. I’d love to tour your home. It’s been a long while since I’ve been in a house with nothing on the walls.

      This is “troll talk.”

The Swedes in my town got sick and tired of all the Scandinavian jokes we used to tell.

So they decided to march on Washington.

I hear they’re halfway to Seattle.

Actually I wasn’t much for Swedish jokes. I’m eternally grateful hot blonde Scandinavian women seem to have the hots for swarthy, greasy olive pickers like me.

    artichoke in reply to Arminius. | July 18, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    My first adult girlfriend was Swedish-American. She was always complaining about being expected to eat lefsa and something else.

      Arminius in reply to artichoke. | July 18, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      Having been to Europe, I can tell you nothing looks better on a nude beach than an 18 year old Danish chick. Note: I’m lumping all the Scandinavians in together. Also note: I didn’t check her ID.

You really don’t want to go to a nude beach in San Diego. Body parts God never intended to meet slapping together.

The horror.

Clothing optional. If you go, be warned. The kind of people enthusiastic about getting naked in public are not the kind of people who should be seen naked in public.

Albigensian | July 18, 2021 at 9:24 pm

Equity, CA style: if everyone can’t learn something then no one should learn that something.

Perhaps calculus could be sold as worthwhile for all those with the capacity to learn and use it if only someone could just “discover” that, really, it was invented by ancient black Egyptians?

    artichoke in reply to Albigensian. | July 19, 2021 at 9:48 am

    That’s probably all been “discovered”. The black studies people already have whole academic journals with real-sounding names, just for their own publications showing that really they wuz kangs.

    I don’t want to try to find one now, but if you do, it is a very weird experience reading these “journals”. The margins and typeface look like journals, the writing would barely pass in most high school English classes (at least as I remember them) and the claims are … extremely creative. And reference the same or another one of their own journals. They’ve built their own Wakanda of academic-ish journals.

On the one hand, calculus is all about differentiation. On the other, integration.

And the two go hand-in-hand. What is CRT TO DO.?

    artichoke in reply to thetaqjr. | July 19, 2021 at 9:44 am

    CRT grinds everyone up into infinitesimal-sized pieces (intersectionality) and then jams them back together in unexpected and involuntary ways (diversity and inclusion). It allows the user to decide how to evaluate the results (equity).

chrisboltssr | July 18, 2021 at 11:18 pm

California might as well have a sign put up that says, “Open to all immigrants who understand Calculus”.

“Reject[s] ideas of natural gifts and talents”

For anybody who actually believes this, I offer a counterpoint: Fields Medalist Terence Tao

Deutsche Physiks will be taught next.

So what they are basically saying is some people are better at math than others so lets make sure we do not do anything to point that out. How would that work with other things? Some people are better at football but it is unfair to have just those people on the team so lets pick the team at random from all the students. Or basketball, or band, or choir, or theater, or just about anything. The reason for offering advanced learning in just about everything is so kids find what things they are good at and get better at it.

53 years ago I was in the first group in our California school district to take Algebra I in 8th grade. Calculus was only offered when we were seniors out of the local community college. It is amazing to me that the luddites are winning and willing to back up education that far.