A group of fringe educators have compiled a six-part toolkit offering an “integrated approach” to developing an “anti-racist math practice” viewed through a social justice lens.
It criticizes the fact that the “concept of mathematics being purely objective” and claims that it is “unequivocally false.”
It argues focusing on the “right answer” to math equations is an example of white supremacy.
The toolkit A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is meant to help educators in grades 6-8.
The entire textbook can be found here. [pdf]
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson also looked into it:
The lessons in Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction warn educators that “white supremacy culture” shows up in the classroom when teachers “treat mistakes as problems by equating them with wrongness” because it “reinforces the ideas of perfectionism (that students shouldn’t make mistakes) and paternalism (teachers or other experts can and should correct mistakes).”
It doesn’t explain why this is white supremacist culture. They must think it’s obvious.
A quick way to dismantle the white supremacist culture, according to the text, is to eliminate order in the classroom.
The text argues, “requiring students to raise their hand before speaking can reinforce paternalism and powerhoarding, in addition to breaking the process of thinking, learning, and communicating.”
Math should be taught through “storytelling circles, incorporating dance, music, song, call and response, and other cultural ways of communicating.”
How that could work out, is anybody’s guess, at this point.
To truly be an anti-racist math teacher, one must fully embrace their identity. [pdf]
The resources will guide you through the “emotionally difficult work of coaching for math equity.”
Once completed, you’re on your way to challenging “the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.”
“Often the emphasis is placed on learning math in the ‘real world,’ as if our classrooms are not a part of the real world,” the text reads. “This reinforces notions of either/or thinking because math is only seen as useful when it is in a particular context. However, this can result in using mathematics to uphold capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world.”
Ultimately, it comes down to this: students of color interpret and use mathematics different than white students.
If you teach students of color the “right” way to do math, you are reinforcing white supremacy culture.
“It allows the defensiveness of Western mathematics to prevail, without addressing underlying causes of why certain groups of students are ‘underperforming,’ a characterization that should also be interrogated,” the text warns. “It also presupposes that ‘good’ math teaching is about a Eurocentric type of mathematics, devoid of cultural ways of being.”
Funny enough, it just presents students from the minorities as inferior to white students, and needing a special kind of mathematics.
It blames educators for “reinforcing objectivity and the idea that there is only one right way” to solve equations because it “dismisses students’ own ways of processing,” it presupposes that only non-white students would have this issue.
To make things even more interesting, this questionable content is funded by the Gates Foundation.
The Pathway‘s website thanks the Gates Foundation for “their generous financial support of this project.” No other nonprofit is listed for donations and they do not list the amount donated. But they have been active in promoting similar principles on math.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Gates Foundation gave nearly “$140 million to some of the groups behind Pathway, whose antiracist resources are the basis for a new teacher training course offered by the Oregon Department of Education.”
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