Just when you think education can’t get sillier, here comes a story about a teacher group advocating for culturally responsive teaching of math. Why? Because “math has traditionally been seen as a domain of old, white men.”
When I read this line, I didn’t freak out immediately because I thought it referred to techniques of teaching rather than the content itself. It could make sense to teach in a “culturally responsive” way — to use language, or set situations in math problems, that are relevant to the students’ interests or experiences. As someone who hated the boring rigidity of memorizing times tables — yet who could compute baseball batting averages at lightning speed — I often wondered why they didn’t tech math through sports stats. So if “culturally responsive” means “relevant” or “interesting,” I’m in.
Silly me. These geniuses — at Teach for America — are talking about the content, the actual math itself. Not only do they want to relate it to the lives of their students, they also want it to fulfill social and political agendas.
Two of the methods are “Radical Math” and “Critically Conscious Math,” both of which try to use math to prove that America is all about racism and oppression. (One of teachers of Radical Math is Cathy Wilkerson, a former member of the Weather Underground who, among other things, was once involved in a plot to detonate a nail bomb targeting military personnel.)
The idea is simple: use math to prove political points. Lesson titles include “Sweatshop Accounting,” “Racism and Stop and Frisk,” “When Equal Isn’t Fair,” “The Square Root of Fair Share,” and “Home Buying While Brown or Black.”
You can see where this goes, right? And it goes all the way there, including a lesson that demonstrates that 2 + 2 = 4 is…wait for it…”naïve.”
As if the kids weren’t handicapped enough by the politically correct education system, now we have this. Fortunately, it’s not everywhere.
Read the article. You might be shocked. Even worse, you might not be.