Home Critical Race Theory/IntersectionalityMath instruction program funded by Bill Gates tells teachers that encouraging students to get the right answer is racist

Math instruction program funded by Bill Gates tells teachers that encouraging students to get the right answer is racist

 

 

In a world where seemingly everything is said to be the product of racism and white supremacy, now we’ve learned that math should also be considered racist and unfair to minorities, according to a new teaching program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Quick Facts

 

  • “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” is a teacher’s workbook that claims to dismantle racism in mathematics instruction.
  • Reportedly, the program has been used in school districts in California, Oregon, Ohio, and Georgia.
  • In February the Oregon Department of Education encouraged teachers to participate in the course, which derides individualism and capitalism.
  •  Black educators have harshly criticized the program, with one stating that the program communicates that “Black kids are bad at math, so why don’t we just excuse them from really learning it.”

 

Are mathematics, objectivity, and getting the correct answer to a problem just more forms of white supremacy? According to some educators and anti-racist proponents, the answer is yes.

 

Among those who subscribe to this theory, apparently, is Bill Gates, who funded through his highly influential foundation a workbook called “A Pathway to Equitable Instruction.” It contends that putting a focus on “getting the right answer,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” and requiring students to “show their work” are all evidence of racism in math.

 

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false,” the manual says. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates ‘objectivity.’”

 

Rachel Ruffalo, the director of educator engagement at The Education Trust-West, the advocacy group that created the workbook, said, “Math enjoyed this notion that it was somehow above the influence of the cultural and political issues of our time.”

 

An introduction to the book states, “We live in a toxic culture that affects us all; one dynamic of the culture is that we are discouraged from seeing it. One of our tasks is to learn to see our culture and how it teaches us to make normal that which is not and should never be normal.”

 

The workbook teaches that the idea that “natural gifts and talents” are “inequitable.” Teachers are also encouraged to identify more than one answer to problems rather than insist students find the single correct answer.

 

The Oregon Department of Education encourages teachers to participate in the course, which decries both individualism and capitalism, and school districts in California, Ohio, and Georgia have also reportedly used it.

 

“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the course description reads. “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.”

 

The course description goes on to explain,

 

“This reinforces the idea that there is only one right way to do math. The history of mathematics, its colonization, and what is deemed as ‘acceptable’ knowledge is rich and complex, therefore, the way that mathematics is taught in the United States needs to be interrogated because it currently centers Western, Eurocentric ways of processing and knowing information. When students are required to learn in this way, they either have to unlearn their learned native traditions to meet teacher expectations, or they are deprived of learning math in their ancestral history. For teachers, teaching the way they learned also reinforces the right to comfort for teachers because to conform is easier than to challenge themselves to teach math differently.”

 

It also details how and why collectivism should be valued over individualism by saying,

 

“While there is some value in students being able to complete work independently, when this is the only or most common avenue for learning or practicing, it reinforces individualism and the notion that I’m the only one. This does not give value to collectivism and community understanding, and fosters conditions for competition and individual success, which perpetuates the idea that if a student is failing it is because they are not trying hard enough or that they don’t care.”

 

The program, which is funded by Bill Gates, who became a multi-billionaire due to capitalism, attacks the ideology, saying, “We cannot dismantle racism in a system that exploits people for private profit. If we want to dismantle racism, then we must build a movement for economic justice.”

 

John McWhorter, a Free Black Thought contributor and professor of linguistics and music history at Columbia University, criticized the idea of the program by noting, “’It claims to be about teaching math while founded on shielding students from the requirement to actually do it.”

 

He added, “Humans may sacrifice the black kid from the work of mastering the gift of math, in favor of showing that they are enlightened enough to understand that her life may be affected by racism and that therefore she should be shielded from anything that is a genuine challenge . . . this is not pedagogy; it is preaching.”

 

Erec Smith, a professor of rhetoric and composition at York College of Pennsylvania and co-founder of Free Black Thought, said, “The workbook’s ultimate message is clear: Black kids are bad at math, so why don’t we just excuse them from really learning it.”

  

 

Tomorrow’s generation may not be able to build a safe bridge, make change at the store, or calculate missile trajectory, but they will be able to organize a protest against white supremacy. “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” is not a workbook to dismantle racism in mathematics, it is a workbook to dismantle mathematics.

 

The real racism in this equation can be found squarely in this teaching program, which is outright declaring that students who are not white cannot learn how to do math.

 

This would be quite a surprise to the many black Americans who not only mastered mathematics and other hard sciences but were able to rise to the very top of their respective fields. Among these were:

 

  • Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who was so precise at calculating the complex orbital equations for determining and controlling the trajectory of atmospheric re-entry that astronaut John Glenn refused step aboard his space vehicle until he was assured that Johnson would be the one “checking the numbers” on his voyage in space.
  • Edward Alexander Bouchet, the son of a former slave who in 1876 became only the sixth American, black or white, to earn a PhD in physics from Yale University (and one of the first 20 Americans to do so), after writing his dissertation on the relatively new field of geometrical optics.
  • Kathy N. Waller, who rose through the accounting and finance ranks at the Coca-Cola Company to become executive vice president and chief financial officer in charge of mergers and acquisitions, tax, treasury, audit, accounting and controls, financial reporting and analysis, and risk management, among other duties chief financial officer before retiring.
  • John Thompson, who attended MIT and went on to work as a senior executive at IBM, CEO of Symantec Corporation, and chairman of the board of Microsoft Corporation, among many other prestigious roles.

 

Nothing could be so condescending or racist as to tell a student that he or she is incapable of learning hard subjects because of the color of their skin. These left-wing “education” advocates evidently do not care about the real harm they are doing to students of all colors and races by denying them the opportunity to excel at math, something American students desperately need in order to successfully compete on the global stage.

 

Bill Gates was once one of the biggest advocates for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for Americans across all income levels and races, and the Gates Foundation was an integral part of the Obama’s Administration’s national STEM initiative, which was launched in 2009 to “inspire and educate America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, and scientifically literate citizens.”

 

One must wonder why Gates now appears to oppose minority students being correctly taught basic math concepts and leveraging it for economic success like he did — or does he, like other white liberals, believe deep down that blacks and minorities just aren’t smart enough or capable enough?

 

Minority students don’t need more arrogant virtue signaling from elites. What they need is an opportunity to attend safe, nurturing schools with caring teachers who will challenge them, encourage them, and fully instruct them so they not only learn how to figure out the right answers to math problems but also gain the skills and confidence they need to excel in whatever profession or calling they want to pursue.