How much lower can we go?
An Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC), under the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, published a preliminary Math Ethnic Studies framework document populated by district representatives that explains math as a racist study used to oppress students — and if you correct a student’s faulty math logic, you’re guilty.
Math is racist
The framework, created by various statewide districts, tackles four themes, including Power and Oppression and History of Resistance and Liberation.
At its core, the belief seems to be that “western” math is viewed as the only “legitimate expression” of math identity and that it’s used to “disenfranchise people and communities of color” and, consequently, it “erases the historical contributions of people and communities of color.”
None of this has anything to do with the math you should learn in K-12; these are topics left for a progressive college course you’d likely see at Evergreen State College.
The framework asks, “Where does Power and Oppression show up in our math experiences?” It wonders, “Who gets to say if an answer is right?”
Apparently, math is now subjective. Who are you to insist two plus two equals four? It goes on to ask “Who is Smart? Who is not Smart?” Answer: the person who says two plus two equals five is not yet smart and should be corrected, even if you think it oppresses them.
The framework believes math is manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to persist. They ask, “Who is doing the oppressing?” I think the answer is supposed to be the white, cis-gendered, heterosexual Christian man.
They ask, “How has math been used to resist and liberate people and communities of color from oppression?”
Ironically, if you subscribe to this social justice world view of math, and teach anyone that there’s no such thing as correct answers, you will be doing immeasurable and, yes, oppressive, harm to students.
Live from the studio Two plus two may equal four, but if the student says five, you better not correct them, oppressor! Math, in Seattle schools, will become a social justice course. But that’s not all. The U.S. government will be posited as a racist institution that must be destroyed.