News & Politics

California Radicals Say Math Is Racist, Set Out to Cancel It in Public Schools

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The teaching of mathematics is part of the white supremacist culture and must be purged of all racist influences, says the California school board.

What kind of racist influences? To begin with, there is no right or wrong answer in math. Any answer is equally valid. Princeton Professor Sergiu Klainerman, a refugee from Ceausescu’s Romania, likens the woke culture to a “soft” kind of Marxism that “enforces its ideology not by jailing dissenters or physically eliminating them, but by social shaming, mob punishment, guilt by association, and coerced speech.”

Klainerman, a professor of mathematics, is very angry.

“The idea that focusing on getting the ‘right answer’ is now considered among some self-described progressives a form of bias or racism is offensive and extraordinarily dangerous. The entire study of mathematics is based on clearly formulated definitions and statements of fact. If this were not so, bridges would collapse, planes would fall from the sky, and bank transactions would be impossible.”

Yes, but that’s a small price to pay if we’re going to get rid of all racism everywhere, right?

Oregon is also considering adopting this nonsense so California kids won’t be the only children who will be light-years behind others by the time they graduate.

The new curriculum will be based on a document titled “Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction,” that the Wall Street Journal points out is chock full of little woke tidbits like that.

This manual claims that teachers addressing students’ mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy. It sets forth indicators of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom,” including a focus on “getting the right answer,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” requiring students to “show their work” and grading them on demonstrated knowledge of the subject matter. “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’s also racist.

There’s a real price to be paid and you can guess who will be paying it — minorities and poor kids.

The framework itself rejects preparing students to take Algebra I in eighth grade, a goal reformers have sought since the 1990s. Students in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan master introductory algebra in eighth grade or even earlier.

At one time, California took the goal seriously and made immense progress. California Department of Education data show that while only 16% of students took algebra by eighth grade in 1999, by 2013, 67%—four times as many—were doing so. Success rates, meaning the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or above, kept rising even as enrollment increased dramatically.

The biggest beneficiaries were ethnic minority and low-income students. While student success tripled overall, African-American students’ success rate jumped by a factor of five, and Latinos’ and low-income students’ by a factor of six.

It’s not about achievement or even learning. It’s all about “equity” and “equality of outcomes.” If poor black kids all can’t learn Algebra, white kids shouldn’t either. This is the grim reality all parents must face of all colors, income levels, and ethnic backgrounds. School boards have become besotted with the notion that every kid should turn out educated to the same degree. It would be a noble goal if the solution wasn’t to drag down those who excel in school to the lowest common denominator.

Welcome to the land of Idiocracy.