The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently promoted a training program for middle school teachers that included a toolkit to help them develop an “anti-racist math practice.”
The toolkit explains various ways to tackle the “white supremacy culture” in math classrooms. Such supremacist attitudes allegedly include students being asked to show their work to teachers and the focus on “getting the right answer.”
The education department had sent the manual to teachers as part of Black History Month. The Equitable Math toolkit states that the concept of mathematics being purely objective is false and teaching such a thing is inappropriate. It calls the idea of everything being either right or wrong as perpetuating objectivity and fear of open conflict. A workbook that comes with the toolkit calls objectivity, which is defined as a belief in being neutral, as a characteristic of white supremacy.
The toolkit asks teachers to develop two solutions to a problem instead of just one and justify incorrect answers by pointing out the wrong assumptions inherent in them. It instructs teachers to identify and challenge the ways mathematics is used to support imperialist, capitalist, or racist views.
“[It] helps educators learn key tools for engagement, develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, and join communities of practice,” ODE Communications Director Marc Siegel defended the “Equitable Math” educational program in an interview with Fox News.
Democrat Representative Janelle Bynum supports the program, saying that some parts can challenge present opinions. She likes the idea of highlighting mathematicians of color and is open to experimenting with different methods of learning. Bynum was initially hesitant about the idea of having students explain things through video. But after thinking about it, she realized that some students might do better with this method.
Oregon Department of Education criticized
Allen Alley, former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, criticized ODE, saying that the program should never have been offered to teachers. He finds it ridiculous the idea of introducing something other than the correct answer and then tying it with white supremacy.
Interestingly, the program’s ODE manual does not explain how their suggestions will eliminate math inequality. Some people also found the program offensive since it implied that non-white students are somehow incapable of “getting the right answers.”
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)
Another problematic program in the American school system is Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which is officially aimed at in-school psychological training for children but has now turned into a channel to promote the controversial Critical Race Theory.
In 2019, Boston-based Pioneer Institute published a study that claimed that SEL only distracts from the truth that public school kids fail miserably at academics in record numbers. One of the study’s authors, attorney Jane Robbins, says SEL risks turning impressionable young minds into leftist activists.
In an article published in February, Robbins points out that SEL advances the idea of equity rather than equality. “Equality was considered a good thing until recently, but now believing in equality proves you’re a racist.”
“Equality means treating people the same; equity, by contrast, means treating some people better than others depending on the level of oppression they can claim for themselves or their ancestors or unrelated people with the same skin color or chromosomal makeup,” she wrote in the article.