WOKE MATH: New K-12 Curriculum Teaches That Western Civilization Has ‘APPROPRIATED’ Mathematics

Written by K. Walker on October 22, 2019

The controversial curriculum seeks to “rehumanize” math and claims that it has been used as a tool of “oppression.”

The Seattle school district is making sweeping changes to the math curriculum from Kindergarten all the way through Twelfth Grade. The curriculum will incorporate ethnic studies along with the neo-Marxist, Social Justice ideology of power and oppression as related to mathematics.

There has been a push, (as the left continues to spit on the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by embracing identitarianism,) to incorporate ethnic studies into all subjects, and that includes mathematics.

The new curriculum is still just at the proposal stage, but it has a number of supporters in academia and, if adopted, could be implemented as early as next fall.

The district’s proposed framework outlines strands of discussion that teachers should incorporate into their classes. One leads students into exploring math’s roots “in the ancient histories of people and empires of color.” Another asks how math and science have been used to oppress and marginalize people of color, and who holds power in a math classroom.

Another theme focuses on resistance and liberation, encouraging students to recognize the mathematical practices and contributions of their own communities, and looking at how math has been used to free people from oppression.

Does anyone else find that gross or is it just me?

These classes are not about mathematics — they’re about ideological indoctrination.

Many on the left are applauding Seattle for weaving in politics and ethnic studies into the curriculum across all subjects in all grades.

Of course they would, it’s Seattle.

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

Seattle’s framework reflects ideas and practices that NCTM has outlined in publications such as last year’s “Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics,” Berry noted. That report argues, among other things, for renewed focus on helping students see how math affects the lives of millions, in social media algorithms, polling data, and world finance.

Critics, however, claim that the move is misguided or that it will ultimately hurt students by focusing on social justice ideology instead of the principles of mathematics.

Seattle’s proposed guidelines caused a furor on social media after Rod Dreher, an editor for The American Conservative, blogged about them on Sept. 30. In a Twitter thread dubbed #WokeMath, critics sneered at the district’s blend of math and oppression, and zeroed in on parts of the framework that ask, “How important is it to be right?” and “Who gets to say if an answer is right?”

Seattle talk-radio host Dori Monson jumped into the fray on his own blog, asking, “Did you realize when you subtracted one number from another that you were disenfranchising people by using Western math?” Liz Wheeler, a host on One America News, tweeted that Seattle “is now teaching kids as young as Kindergarten that math is racist.”

Some of these claims have been disputed, but… the math ethnic studies framework document looks like something that you’d find on the most radical of college campuses espousing identity politics.

While the curriculum change has been polarizing, some can see the goal as a noble one — to make all students feel included — but are disappointed with the implementation because it doesn’t just include the contributions around the globe relating to math, but also discusses oppression and liberation and points a finger at Western civilization.

A top official at one math organization agreed to talk only anonymously about the new framework to avoid becoming part of the controversy. Starting the conversation with a sigh, he said it’s too bad that Seattle blended important ideas with highly controversial ones.

“We all want students of color to be included, believe they can learn math, and see themselves as mathematicians,” he said. “It’s important for them to learn about great contributions to mathematics from all cultures—Indian and Chinese and Babylonian.

“But you don’t need to talk about liberation and oppression and how Western mathematics has somehow taken over. It just turns people off and makes the goal of being inclusive that much tougher.”

Source: Education Week

Who cares if kids know the multiplication table as long as they know that mathematics is a racist dog whistle to white supremacists, right?

I joke because if I didn’t laugh, I’d be crying for these kids.

In recent years it has become vogue to dismiss rote learning and embrace “discovery” math — where students “discover” their own solutions to the math problem and are rewarded not for the correct answer, but for the “process.”

Common Core math confused a subject that many students already found confusing and stressful and befuddled parents attempting to help them. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has committed to eliminating Common Core by next year. The curriculum has been mocked repeatedly since its implementation, including in the Pixar film, Incredibles 2.

There is only so much learning time in a classroom. If you’re giving a math history lesson, how do you also teach the relevant mathematical concepts? Do you just pile on more homework onto kids? Or do you sacrifice the concepts for the ethnic studies? I could see woke teachers doing just that, and where does that leave students? Falling behind their peers.

At the end of the day, it’s about being able to understand the concepts and implement them.

Sure, you might know the entire history of mathematics but if you can’t do the math, how does that help you?

I thought the entire point was to make math more accessible to students, not less.

The question is, with the focus just a few short years ago on STEM, how does this new “woke” math actually help students in the Science, Mathematics, and Tech job market that we live in?

If this keeps going, I guess we’re all going to have to be careful what we say about Chinese oppression, because they will be the only ones able to still function in higher mathematics and the jobs that go with them.



ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll