“Like the return of the undead, woke math has come back to haunt California’s classrooms and make it even harder for the state’s struggling students to receive a quality education,” Lance Izumi, Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute writes at Townhall.com this week.
Last year, the California Department of Education released the first draft of a new curriculum framework for K-12 mathematics, which guides classroom teaching. But this release was only after a six-month delay due to pressure from members of Congress and other officials, parents, educators, and even school districts, Izumi and Wenyuan Wu, Executive Director of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation explained in July. Why the delay?
The “controversial and ideological 2021 proposed Math Framework rightly generated huge opposition because of the seismic changes it made to current math practices in California schools,” Izumi and Wu explained. “As noted in a letter against the proposal signed by 500 mathematicians and top educators, the framework politicizes math by assigning math problems that address ‘social inequalities,’ denies math as a neutral science, urges teachers to take a ‘justice-oriented perspective,’ and discourages accelerating talented students because of racial balancing considerations. As the letter emphasized, ‘The proposed framework would, in effect, de-mathematize math.’”
The delayed release was expected to bring about positive changes. But as Izumi warns this week, instead “Woke math returns to California.”
Izumi explains that the second draft says that the goal of teaching math will be to “promote racial justice.” “Indeed, five of the 14 chapters of the framework are focused on equity, with the CDE saying that ‘equity influences all aspects of this document.'”
This emphasis on “equity” is highly concerning because there is a big difference between “equity” and “equality.”
Equality, which is an American standard, focuses on equal rights of individuals. Equity, which is a Marxist creed, demands that entire groups defined by the left, not individuals, have comparable outcomes. The left would have you believe equality “inevitably generates suspicion of unequal or differential treatment absent past discrimination or present stereotyping, particularly if practiced by the state.” Emory University even calls equality a “theory.”
The left in America conflates the two words.
The new math framework “is wrapped in equity,” with the goal to “lower standards in the name of equal outcomes, which could have disastrous ramifications on the quality of public education,” Frank Xu, president of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, warns.
Izumi warns of another troubling teaching method recommended by the framework: trauma-induced pedagogy.
“According to Williamson Evers, a former U.S. assistant secretary of education for policy, and Ze’ev Wurman, a former senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, trauma-induced pedagogy ‘is the idea that students are disabled emotionally by a racist, sexist, violent society ruled by a capitalist class and that therefore teaching should be therapeutic.'”
Indeed. This is a greatly disturbing practice.
The University of Nebraska may be one of the few honest schools in describing what trauma-induced pedagogy is: “Trauma-Informed Pedagogy requires having an awareness of our students’ past and present experiences and the effects of those experiences on students’ well-being and their ability to engage with the materials and learn. We must be able to recognize trauma in ourselves and our students. We need to be intentional to promote safe environments that cultivate connectedness, empowerment, and recovery.”
What does trauma have to do with math?
Not much. “Infusing math instruction with a highly politicized ideology will only worsen California’s poor student math performance,” Izumi says. “For example, 63 percent of Ventura County students failed to meet grade-level standards on the 2020-21 state math test. Statewide, 66 percent of California students failed to meet grade-level standards on the math exam.”
California’s focus on politics and ideology, rather than on mathematical computational excellence, “deprives students of the tools and learning they will need to succeed in math and, subsequently, in the workplace.”
“California, which is so dependent on STEM-related industries, cannot afford to allow ideology to trump real math learning in the classroom, “Izumi concludes. “The state needs competent scientists, engineers, and computer specialists, not woke math illiterates who know their pronouns, but cannot solve an equation.”