California Weighs ‘Equitable Math’: Goal of Obtaining Correct Answer Is Racist
The California education department is considering implementing a statewide math framework that promotes the concept that working to figure out a correct answer in math is an example of racism and white supremacy invading the classroom.
The framework, titled “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction,” is intended to be “exercises for educators to reflect on their own biases to transform their instructional practice.”
“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the document states. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”
The proposed California framework provides examples of how “white supremacy culture” has infiltrated math classes in schools:
- The focus is on getting the “right” answer.
- Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration.
- “Real-world math” is valued over math in the real world.
- Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom).
- Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being.
Additionally, the document asserts the means by which teachers assess student learning in math is based on white supremacy culture, as demonstrated by:
- Students are required to “show their work.”
- Grading practices are focused on lack of knowledge.
- Language acquisition is equated with mathematical proficiency.