The Oregon Department of Education is seeking to root out white supremacy in mathematics, manifested by emphasis on “getting the right answer” and making students “show their work.”
As reported Monday by the attentive folks at the College Fix, Oregon’s progressive Department of Education has furnished educators with an 82-page training manual titled “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.”
The education department mailed the manual to teachers as part of Black History Month.
The manual enumerates signs of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom,” which include a focus on “getting the right answer,” an emphasis on “real-world math,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” students being required to “show their work,” and grading students based on their demonstrated knowledge of the material.
“In order to embody antiracist math education, teachers must engage in critical praxis that interrogates the ways in which they perpetuate white supremacy culture in their own classrooms, and develop a plan toward antiracist math education to address issues of equity for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students,” the manual declares.
The unavoidably racist and thoroughly demeaning implication is that black students are not capable of “showing their work” or “getting the right answers,” and so teachers must lower the academic bar or remove it altogether.
An impartial observer might even suggest that assuming that students of color are incapable of competing on a level playing field is a manifestation of the deepest form of “white supremacy.”
What the manual never succeeds in explaining is how dumbing down mathematics will magically eliminate “mathematical inequity,” a proposal that is counterintuitive.
It was not long ago that literature and film celebrated heroic educators who, against all odds, challenged their students to rise above their situations and achieve academic success.
If the Oregon Department of Education is any indication, such heroism is a thing of the past.