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.
Hell hath no fury like a parent scorned.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 5, 2021
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.
As he attends a birthday party for a lobbyist and sends his children to private school, Gov. Newsom refuses to provide evidence for his orders denying Californians the same opportunities.https://t.co/MEWV4rnWcc
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) November 13, 2020
Meanwhile, let us hope that there is a recalculation in the wisdom of implementing race-based math and that the pause becomes an erasure.DONATE
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