In the face of overwhelming criticism during a public comments period, the California Board of Education has decided to postpone action on its proposed “equitable,” antiracist math curriculum until May 2022.
According to the Mathematics Curriculum Framework, mathematics has been exclusive to whites and must be changed. “All students deserve powerful mathematics,” the document reads. “We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents. The belief that ‘I treat everyone the same’ is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities.”
California’s new framework charges that a focus on getting the right answer is a Western ideal and that teachers should not focus on one correct answer. “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.”
“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.”
Dr. Williamson M. Evers, a senior fellow of the Independent Institute, had pushed back on the proposal in an open letter, stating, “California is on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way,” noting that the proposed curriculum is “presented as a step toward social justice and racial equity, but its effect would be the opposite—to rob all Californians, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, who always suffer most when schools fail to teach their students.”
He further charged, “This proposed framework will discourage districts from having advanced classes for gifted students. It’s going to block the rise of talented kids to important roles in society, serving us as engineers, getting rockets in the air, and getting bridges built properly.”
“For all the rhetoric in this framework about equity, social justice, environmental care, and culturally appropriate pedagogy, there is no realistic hope for a more fair, just, equal and well-stewarded society if our schools uproot long-proven, reliable, and highly effective math methods and instead try to build a mathless Brave New World on a foundation of unsound ideology.”
The California program is extremely similar to the “Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” a teacher’s workbook funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The exposure of this flawed framework led to a backlash that forced officials to put their proposal on hold. If people had not stood up to challenge it, the framework would likely have been implemented already. As education becomes increasingly infiltrated by leftist activists, it is crucial that parents seek out what will be taught to their children in school and — if necessary — challenge it.
Parents have shown what can happen when they unite against Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, and it will take diligence to ensure that children are protected from these and other harmful and divisive ideologies.
In the case of California’s Mathematics Curriculum Framework, educators, parents, and other concerned citizens should make themselves heard between now and May 2022 to ensure that the board understands that this framework should never be approved.