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1,800 STEM Scholars Argue Against Proposal in California to ‘Dumb Down K-12 Math’

1,800 STEM Scholars Argue Against Proposal in California to ‘Dumb Down K-12 Math’

“developing students who can perform high-level math is crucial to the nation’s vital information technology infrastructure and economic competitiveness”

The left’s quest to inject social justice into math has been going on for years. A lot of people are fighting to keep it from happening.

The College Fix reports:

1,800 STEM scholars sign letter against proposal that would dumb down K-12 math in California

There’s an effort in California to dumb down math at the K-12 level in the name of equity, but a growing number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math scholars urge officials to reject the plan.

To date, nearly 1,800 STEM scholars have signed on to the “Open Letter on K-12 Mathematics,” stating they are alarmed at the current proposal to fight achievement gaps in math pushed by progressives in the Golden State.

As The College Fix has previously reported, a framework before the California Department of Education would move more advanced math classes from the state’s middle schools to high schools to make math more equitable to students of all levels.

The framework also rebukes student giftedness, alleging the concept creates “considerable inequities in mathematics education.”

But the some 1,800 scholars who have signed the open letter argue that developing students who can perform high-level math is crucial to the nation’s vital information technology infrastructure and economic competitiveness:

College students who need to spend their early years taking introductory math courses may require more time to graduate. They may need to give up other opportunities and are more likely to struggle academically. Such a reform would disadvantage K-12 public school students in the United States compared with their international and private-school peers. It may lead to a de facto privatization of advanced mathematics K-12 education and disproportionately harm students with fewer resources.

Another deeply worrisome trend is devaluing essential mathematical tools such as calculus and algebra in favor of seemingly more modern “data science.” As STEM professionals and educators we should be sympathetic to this approach, and yet, we reject it wholeheartedly. The ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data is indeed transforming our society. But “data science” – computer science, statistics, and artificial intelligence – is built on the foundations of algebra, calculus, and logical thinking.


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“There’s an effort in California to dumb down math at the K-12 level in the name of equity”

As of today, I’m slowing down my work performance in the name of equity.
And if you complain about it, I’m reporting you to BLM and Antifa.

Some people are smarter than others. Some are stronger and faster. Some live longer with fewer and less serious health problems. And some are born with an IQ so low they will spend their adult years in what is essentially a big playpen. And wear head protection, if they are head-bangers. It’s all so very unfair, isn’t it? Yet (as with “equity” in education) the only way to equalize outcomes is to require everyone to perform at the same low level.

Of course the source of this dogma is not hard to find: it becomes axiomatic to assume all aggregate differences in group output are due to some present or past injustice (and therefore it becomes a moral absolute to demand equal outcomes.

Yet any society that denies its best and brightest the resources they need to fully develop their talents is surely doomed to mediocrity, at best.

Further, the luxury we have in maintaining those who lack the means to be fully productive is ultimately dependent on having enough resources to do this. In a society dependent on pre-industrial technologies such luxuries become unaffordable, and those societies which survive will be those who do what they must to survive.

It is wealth that enables us to extend humanitarian aid, and other forms of assistance to those who need it. And if you level all at a low level of performance this wealth is not sustainable, and society inevitably must either die (or be over-run by its neighbors) or do without such costly luxuries as keeping those who cannot produce enough to cover the costs of keeping such persons in reasonable comfort.

    It is called “lowest common denominator instruction.” Lower the standards so everyone can pass and feel good about themselves.

    Unfortunately, STEM majors, like Engineering and Physics require higher math (much higher than I would like to imagine) to work, regardless of how much one feels that they “deserve” to be an engineer or physicist.

    Makes you wonder why the latest NASA rocket has to keep delaying when they are trying to replicate a feat first accomplished in 1969, using slide rules and less computing power than today’s refrigerators.

    henrybowman in reply to Albigensian. | September 23, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Every time I see this argument, I wonder why some educational organization hasn’t successfully arbitraged it.

    “Schools treating your smart kid like a meal ticket? Our school is for kids who want to apply themselves. Our diploma actually means something. Corporations hire our graduates when they want to build a bridge that won’t fall down, not when they want to check a box on a government form, and certainly not when they want to find a rich but stupid business partner to underwrite the president’s crackhead son.”

    Or maybe there are already schools like that and I just don’t hear about them.

    MIT used to be a school like that, and for the most part (except for some entirely gratuitous wokeness at the top) still is. It is getting less and less white as time goes on, but the problem seems to stem from the quality of the white applicant pool — the BIPOCs they are attracting are extremely high quality, and come from a global applicant pool.

Is the left trying to erase Darwinism and the theory of evolution? You know, where survival of the fittest shapes the success of a species?

How very anti science of them…

I’ve always questioned the requirement of “higher level” mathematics in high school. The vast majority will never use it in their working lives. The time would be better spent learning basic economics and personal financial management (or perhaps a thorough understanding of human reproductive biology). Failing algebra is the leading cause of students not obtaining a high school diploma.

    Algebra is not “higher level” mathematics. That said, my wife, who spent a career teaching math in high school, including AP Calculus, always said that “basic economics and personal financial management” should be taught. However, the absence of “logical thinking” might be a hallmark of many bad decisions that this country makes; and the more math you can get under your belt the better in that respect.

    henrybowman in reply to Nuestro. | September 23, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    My sister’s first husband was a professional photographer, an amateur painter, and considered himself an educated man. I was disillusioned at age 13 when he came to me to figure out for him how to price his artwork such that when the gallery took their 10% off the top, he still made some desired figure on his item. (This, after discovering that if he just added 10% to his desired price, he always came up short.) Algebra isn’t abstract.