Monday, March 8, 2021

How Not to Teach Math?

It isn’t just a bunch of dopey New York private schools. The California Department of Education is working to revamp the school curriculum, to ensure that no children will ever learn math.

Lee Ohanian explains that it’s all about indoctrination in radical leftism (via Maggie’s Farm):

After circulating two widely criticized drafts of an ethnic studies curriculum, the California Department of Education must now determine whether to accept a third widely criticized draft this month. The common denominator across all three drafts is that they are based on “critical ethnic studies,” which holds that capitalism is a form of power and oppression and is related to imperialism, White supremacy, and racism. 

San Mateo is getting ahead of the curve. Its school district is trying to break up mathematics education because it’s racist. You cannot make this stuff up.

Ohanian explains:

The San Mateo school district has hired an education consulting business to offer two-hour online webinars at $350 per participant to help teachers self-reflect on their journey to becoming anti-racist and to help them “dismantle racist mathematics education.”

Participants receive a toolkit, which lists ways that “white supremacy culture” infiltrates math classrooms. This culture is allegedly problematic because it focuses on getting the “right” answer and on students needing to show their work. The toolkit notes that the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. . . . Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.” Welcome to the world of ethnomathematics.

Of course, teaching that there is no right answer is guaranteed to produce calamities:

No right answer? Hmm . . . well, let’s hope that the engineers of tomorrow, those designing future generations of airplanes, cars, bridges, buildings, and dams, know how to get the right answers. Better to have a bridge remain standing after an earthquake and save lives, even if focusing on the right answer does possibly “perpetuate fear of open conflict,” yes?

Again, this is Marxist indoctrination, nothing less:

The toolkit also offers guidelines, including how to “identify and challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.” You mean, like accounting and auditing of businesses? As in the accounting and auditing services that are performed—hopefully getting the right answers— within their own organizations?

Before this even starts, California students are already incapable of doing math. So, this new curriculum is doubling down on failure:

Those who advocate for changing math instruction along these lines must believe that it will lead to better learning outcomes for students. There is no question that California’s students need to understand math more deeply, with only 29 percent testing at or above proficiency levels. Sixty-three percent of Asian students are at or above proficiency levels, but this falls to 47 percent for Whites, 15 percent for Hispanic students, and 10 percent for Black students. Clearly, something needs to be done with math instruction for the kids who are struggling. Is ethnomathematics the answer?

As for the solution, hold your breath. If you can imagine such a thing, the children who are doing the best at math live in Shanghai. They learn math the old fashioned way:

Students from Shanghai, China, often place first in international math assessments of students across countries, and the Shanghai kids learn math the old-fashioned way.  As in, there is a correct answer, and with marks taken off an exam if proper notation is not used. 

Ohanian continues:

What is different about Shanghai math? Most math teachers in Shanghai tend to be math specialists, who only teach mathematics. This allows Shanghai students to receive broader and deeper exposures to mathematics than with teachers who don’t have an advanced mathematics background. The Shanghai system, which often is taught in classes of up to 50 students in China, focuses on students mastering concepts so that they can show the entire class how to solve a particular problem. Integrating all students in the process is a key part of instruction. These features of Shanghai math may be best practices that we can copy.

You can only sit back and wonder. How does the Communist Party of China insist on teaching children the right way to do math while our enlightened bureaucrats are hellbent on rendering America’s children innumerate?

Tis a puzzlement.


Sam L. said...

SAY! Could I do my taxes with bad math? Well, my Magic 8-Ball tells me, DON'T DO DAT,
and I KNOW it never lies... Ohhhhhh, how the Left hates America...with the help of the CCP.

jabrwok said...

Something relevant: ethnoscience!

Ares Olympus said...

I recall Limbaugh's advice "Never trust the facts of people with causes." Clearly a corollary is "Never trust the math of people with causes" [whether those causes are personal greed or social justice].

I remember my sister buying jewelry on 6 month credit in her 20s, and I tried to explain the 20% interest she was paying was a lot, but she wasn't impressed when I calculated that meant $12/month extra. She thought it was fair. So math knowledge still doesn't protect people. And probably the base price was marked up by a factor of 4 anyway, even after a fake discounted sale price "$400 gold-plated necklace, now 50% off!" or whatever nonsense it was. Ignorance can be bliss for a long time.

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