Tag Archives: news

New Changes to Math Curriculum in California

The proposed mathematics framework in California has placed a heavy emphasis on equity in the teaching of math. The document makes several statements to support this, such as the following.

“All students are capable of making these contributions and achieving these abilities at the highest levels,”

In other words, all students can experience success in mathematics. Living in a subjective world of “lived experiences,” this statement does not appear to make sense alone. However, the document goes on to state that.

“We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents.”

Again this does not make sense. The world is full of highly talented people who obviously have superior abilities. Pick any field or industry, and you can find an Einstein, Newton, Mozart, Bach, Keynes, Shakespeare, or others. To reject natural gifts and talents is almost akin to dismissing reality.

The goal of the mathematics framework is summarized as follows

“to replace ideas of innate mathematics ‘talent’ and ‘giftedness’ with the recognition that every student is on a growth pathway.”

All students are indeed on their own “growth pathway” but given that there are differences in all students, it implies that the growth will be different. There is no such nonsense found in sports. Nobody will say everyone can play basketball at the highest level and that nobody has a natural talent at basketball. Playing professional basketball requires at the minimum unusual height and a plethora of other skills that can be partially developed. If someone is under six feet tall, it will be a long road to professional sports, even with supreme talent.

Athletes also receive special training and classes as it becomes apparent that they have potential. If someone can demonstrate superior athletic ability, is it not possible for someone to demonstrate exceptional mathematical ability and thus the need for specialized training and development?

The framework also disagrees with such ideas as

  • Finding the correct answer
  • Showing your work
  • Individual practice

Finding the correct answer is critical for anybody who wants to work in a math focus field. Who would feel comfortable flying in a plane designed by an engineer who was not worried about getting the “correct” answer? Showing your work helps students understand what they are doing and allows the teacher to see where mistakes were made and how to intervene. Again, who would want to go into surgery with a doctor who cannot explain what they will do? Lastly, individual practice means that the student can do the work and does not lean on friends.

Not allowing students to grow and demonstrate their innate talent and abilities is crippling for them. All students need to be challenged and pushed but how this is done depends on the students. All students have talent in something, and schools should helping students determine what they excel at and how to survive what they are weak at. Nobody excels at everything, and nobody fails at everything either.

States Push Back Against Critical Race Theory

In the state of Idaho, located in the United States, lawmakers have banned the teaching of critical race theory in class. Here is what one person had to say about critical race theory in Idaho education

We need to protect our teachers from being forced to teach this social justice garbage, including critical race theory.

The penalty for violating this law is the withholding of state funding. According to the NPR report,

So last month, lawmakers wrote a bill to withhold state funding from schools if teachers compel students to believe certain viewpoints, which lawmakers say are, quote, “often found in critical race theory.”

Conservatives primarily support this law, and Democrats had some criticism of this law. At least one lawmaker did not see the teaching of critical race theory as a problem as they were a former educator and administrator.

In my 32 years in two different school districts, a public charter school, I never saw any of this happening, and I still don’t see that happening.

Critical race theory has been in the news lately as the beliefs of this philosophy stress that race is the primary motivating factor in the world and has led to the systemic oppression of various races that done have power. As people have come to embrace this worldview, there appears to be a heightened push for social justice ideas by regular Americans and increased coverage of oppression and inequality by the media.

The history of critical race theory harkens back to Marxism and the struggle of the rich and poor. Marx’s ideas of a class struggle were mutated to develop critical race theory, which does not see a financial struggle but instead focuses more on a racial struggle. In other words, critical race theory is the expansion of Marxist ideas beyond economic and material concepts to other areas of culture such as race.

Many of the various movements of today are rooted in Marxist thought as they often pit one group that lacks “power” against another that has the power either through means or numerical advantage. Examples include feminism, postcolonialism (colonizers vs. colonized), and fat studies (overweight vs. not overweight).

Recently, there is a movement in Texas to ban critical race theory in schools there. The bill is currently in committee and has a strong chance of passing. The complaint against critical race theory in Texas is its divisive nature and the depiction of White Americans as implicitly racist and complicit in a system of oppression against minorities.

This struggle over critical race theory has also taken place at the federal level. Donald Trump removed critical race theory training among federal workers with an executive order as president. However, this executive order was overturned by an executive order by Joe Biden when he assumed the presidency.

The outcome of this battle is yet to be determined. People are still deciding if the values of critical theory are in agreement with theirs.