Just when you thought the California Department of Education could not possibly do more harm than it already has, it proves how wrong such fragile hope can be. No stone, it seems, can be left unturned in the drive to indoctrinate our children, where woke-ism is emerging as its first principle. The California Healthy Youth Act (2016) brought Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to the state’s classrooms, and with it, behavioral and gender identity indoctrination. The just approved Ethnic Studies Framework doubled down with its pedagogy of Critical Race Theory and Historical Revisionism. And now this same ideology is infecting the domain of mathematics.
Primary schools are already culturally un-recognizable from a generation ago. The woke worldview is in evidence everywhere on school campuses, while core academics continue their demise. California’s UC System, once the queen of public-colleges, recently announced they would no longer accept SAT and ACT scores as part of their admissions process because they’ve been deemed “discriminatory.” At the same time, according to Pew Research, the U.S. outspends virtually every nation on earth per-capita educating its kids, yet ranks in the middle to bottom rungs academically. California ranks worse still, 40/50 compared to other states in K-12 education as reported by USNews.
You can expect it to drop further if the CDE’s proposed 2021 Mathematics Framework gets approved. Why? Because the new math pedagogy isn’t so much about math as it is: “Teaching Toward Social Justice.” As the writers of the Framework put it, “A social justice approach to mathematics enables the humanizing of mathematics.” It’s about advancing ”Culturally Responsive Teaching” as the graphic below highlights in the “New America.”
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “The [Mathematics] framework recommends eight times that teachers use a troubling document, ‘A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.’ This manual claims that teachers addressing students’ mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy… ‘The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false’ the manual explains. ‘Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates objectivity. Apparently, that is also racist.”
In homage to Social Justice, the Math Framework ensures that elements of Comprehensive Sexuality Education are liberally sprinkled throughout the curriculum. In one math teaching vignette, “Ms. Ross teaches fifth grade at the Jackie Robinson Academy. She has been focusing on developing her students’ sociopolitical consciousness through language arts and wants to bring mathematics into their thinking… Ms. Ross selects three-word problems to connect with the class’s current read-aloud of George, a novel by Alex Gino that shares the story of a 10-year-old transgender fourth grader and her struggles with acceptance among friends and family. In doing so, the teacher is reflecting the recommendations of California’s Health Framework, which suggests that sensitive discussions of gender are important for students.”
In another example, “the students…came to notice the role of gender in the mathematics problem. Students are able to take what they noticed and named – in this case, how gender played out in the problem – and consider its implications, enabling critical thinking. p. 41.”
What does any of this have to do with teaching math? Everything. If, that is, the goal is to “Reframe Mathematics,” that is, to “disrupt the taken-for-granted and expand possibilities, in this case, for gender nonconforming and LGBTQ representations that students chose to make visible.”
What to do?
Members of California’s Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) will vote on whether to advance the new Math Framework in early November. Before they do, beginning in June, the public can review and comment on it. We will report more on how to engage the Commission in future newsletters. If you’re not a fan of woke-math in a “New America,” now is the time to stop it.
In the meantime, I want to invite you to subscribe (and also comment) on POK’s new podcast, “Say What?!,” where every week Pastor Gheorghe Rosca Jr. and I discuss the issues facing our children in the public-schools. You can also catch us on KPRZ radio between 1:00pm and 1:30pm ever Saturday.