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California woke math debate: 2 + 2 = ‘What are you feeling right now?’

by WorldTribune Staff, August 5, 2021

California "educators" are reportedly debating ditching traditional mathematics in favor of a new math curriculum steeped in woke social justice.

The state Instructional Quality Commission released a draft “mathematics framework” that would shift instruction from the traditional, and somewhat linear, approach to one focused on race and feelings, Dan Walters noted in a July 26 op-ed for Cal Matters.

The draft declares that traditional math instruction, in which students progress from counting and simple arithmetic into geometry, algebra, trigonometry and eventually calculus, “has much to correct (because) the subject and community of mathematics has a history of exclusion and filtering, rather than inclusion and welcoming.”

“There persists a mentality that some people are ‘bad in math’ (or otherwise do not belong), and this mentality pervades many sources and at many levels,” the draft continues. “Girls and black and brown children, notably, represent groups that more often receive messages that they are not capable of high-level mathematics, compared to their white and male counterparts.”

To counter that perceived shortcoming, the proposal would have students of all abilities remain together well into high school, essentially eliminating advanced classes for "those who exhibit desire and aptitude," Walters noted.

"Moreover, math instruction would be reoriented from the linear manipulation of numbers into a tool for social justice," Walters added.

The commission's draft declares: “Mathematics educators have an imperative to impart upon their students the argument that mathematics is a tool that can be used to both understand and change the world.”

An open letter signed by hundreds of academics slammed the commission's proposal:

“California is on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way,” the letter declared. “Its proposed Mathematics Curriculum Framework 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. As textbooks and other teaching materials approved by the state would have to follow this framework and since teachers are expected to use it as a guide, its potential to steal a promising future from our children is enormous.”

Walters concluded:

"Advocates of the new curriculum are playing with the lives of millions of children and the state’s economic and societal future. Implicitly they are shifting blame for the state’s embarrassingly low scores in nationwide math achievement tests from themselves to the traditional way math has been taught.

"How, then, do they explain why kids in other states and nations are thriving with traditional math? Can they prove that their proposal will improve real world outcomes, or are they just indulging their ideological fantasies?"

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