The state plans to promote anti-racism by focusing on ‘depth, creativity, visuals, and mathematical beauty’ over correct answers.
By Bob Zeidman | 7 April 2021
THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR — The California Department of Education recently decided to update its “Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.” A section entitled “Supporting Equitable and Engaging Mathematics Instruction” promotes “an anti-racist mathematics practice” where the goal is for teachers to “help grades 6–8 Black, LatinX, and linguistically diverse students thrive” by emphasizing “depth, creativity, visuals, and mathematical beauty” rather than correct answers.
Usually arguments about mathematics being somehow a product of white supremacy or somehow racist have been attributed to extremists who have gained little traction other than sensational news stories that have quickly faded. But this situation is much more serious, as these ridiculous and harmful notions are being seriously considered as part of the curriculum for nine million children in the largest and one of the most influential states in America.
California intends to promote the idea that mathematics is racist and that the point of solving mathematics problems is not to get the right answer, but … well, I’m not sure what the goal is, but the description is “anti-racist math,” where Black, Latinx, Indigenous, women, and poor students” only solve an “authentic problem, activity, or context is one in which students investigate or struggle with situations or questions about which they actually wonder.” But most of us studied basic household economics and budgeting as children even though as children we didn’t run a household or have money to budget. Education is supposed to be about learning new things and not about reiterating the things one already knows. It’s about expanding one’s experience rather than narrowing it. And, most importantly, it’s about getting the right answers, not being made to feel good about getting the wrong one. […]