Oregon warns math is racist, promotes program for teachers to dismantle its "white supremacy"

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Feb 13th, 2021 2:45 pm

Last Updated Feb 18th, 2021 at 10:42 am

Oregon's Department of Education sent out an online pamphlet last week advertising a new course designed for teachers entitled, "A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction," with a section focused on removing racism from math.

"This tool provides teachers an opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching mathematics," reads the "Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction" section.

"The framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by visibilizing (sic) the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture ... with respect to math."

The course describes itself as "an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards."

"Often the emphasis is placed on learning math in the 'real world,' as if our classrooms are not a part of the real world," the pamphlet reads.

"This reinforces notions of either/or thinking because math is only seen as useful when it is in a particular context. However, this can result in using mathematics to uphold capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world."

The course tells educators to "challenge the ways that math is used to hold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views."

"The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so," the course states. "Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict."

Oregon recently ranked #40 in the country in one assessment of the education quality of American schools.


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