Claiming they’re taking steps to root out white supremacy, California’s State Board of Education and similar authorities in other states are considering a new curriculum that would upend how mathematics is taught in public schools. It’s outlined in a document titled, “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.”
The document says it offers “exercises for educators to reflect on their own biases to transform their instructional practice” by “making visible the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture.”
The manual asserts that these “characteristics” involve a focus on “getting the right answer,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” and requiring students to “show their work.”
“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false,” the manual asserts. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates ‘objectivity,’” and this promotes racism.
If this anti-scientific proposition — part of a broader social agenda that says race is the determining factor in history and everything else — were seriously pursued, no home could be built, no plane could fly, and much of what working people require to live would disappear.
“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the course description says. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”
To counter this, the document asserts “antiracist” math educators must “deconstruct the ways they have been taught math to learn and teach math differently.”
This would include a priority on ethnomathematics. “Identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views,” the curriculum says.
In response to a May 19 Wall Street Journal article about this math curriculum, a number of letters were printed several days later under the headline, “In California, 2+2=4 May Be Thought Racist.”
“The ‘woke’ seem to live a dream world of their creation that has little grounding in the world they live in,” wrote Mike Walker from Meridian, Idaho. “Taking away the ability to do mathematics means students cannot become engineers or doctors. They can’t become computer scientists. They can’t become a plumber or electrician or carpenter. Consider architecture and accounting. The ‘can’t’ list goes on and on.”
The ultimate target of “critical race theory” is the working class, the only class that can defend and advance human culture. This “theory” aims to cover over the fact that all gains won by working people have been the result of the struggle of class versus class, not race against race. It says all U.S. history is based on white supremacy, and all Caucasians are inherently racist.
If this “woke” scheme is implemented, it will cut across students’ ability to learn math and put it to use. The newly proposed California curriculum, for example, rejects preparing students to take Algebra I in the 8th grade. But this is something students in California were making important progress on — going from 16% of students prepared to do so in 1999 to 67% by 2013.
“The biggest beneficiaries were ethnic minority and low-income students,” noted the Journal. “African-American students’ success rate jumped by a factor of five, and Latinos’ and low-income students’ by a factor of six.”