Numbers are our universal language – the gifts of the clay tablets and scrolls of our ancestors.
Mathematics is the symbolic explanation of the world we live in and the order of the chaos of the cosmos.
From our first studies of mysterious stars to our subsequent exploits in space – launching rockets, satellites and even putting man on the moon – mathematics has been and still is today the greatest tool of humanity.
But California education officials don’t care.
They believe that learning math actually perpetuates inequity in our schools. That is why they proposed a mathematics curriculum framework in which mathematics will no longer be an objective academic discipline, but a tool for exposing systemic racism.
The California Education Quality Commission decided to go ahead with the directive last Wednesday. The framework is expected to be submitted to the National Board of Education later this year.
Students who are good at math, and minorities in particular, will pay the highest price. According to the proposed recommendations, students would be grouped into the same math classes from middle school to grade two of high school, regardless of their math skills. This will deprive mathematically gifted students of the opportunity to progress faster and take more advanced courses.
Currently, students are classified into different math tracks based on their performance. Some students pass the math in their last year of high school, or even take more advanced classes at the local community college. Others might not go beyond algebra.
Not allowing math follow-up will prevent many students from studying advanced math, making them less competitive for universities in the future.
The initially proposed framework included a document titled “A Path to Fair Mathematics Education,” which was withdrawn from the framework proposed by the Education Quality Commission on Wednesday.
According to the document, the education approach that “students have to get up by their boots and if they fail it is their fault” is flawed because it “leaves no room for systemic student reasons. fail ”.
Based on this definition, numerical errors are not seen as mere errors that can be improved upon, but as an effect of racism. Anyone can misplace a number or forget a formula because of other factors, including poor teaching practices. However, the document severely limits the ability of institutions and instructors to explore these factors individually, as they must examine them through the lens of social justice.
The paper continues on “educational coaches” who have “the potential to extend their impact to a number of classrooms and students in order to dismantle the culture of white supremacy that exists in the math classroom.”
In other words, math teachers should not just grade students based on their final answers, but should also have political considerations, going against the purpose of math and disrupting the way the math works. mathematics education.
Studies show that students do best when they are grouped with others who are progressing in their studies at the same pace. A 2009 Fordham Institute study of Massachusetts colleges found that institutions with more leads had significantly more students climbing the ladder in math achievement than failing.
Moreover, the proposed framework is based on a fallacious premise that minority children are automatically disadvantaged in mathematics. And for many immigrant students in particular, according to research by Gianna Claudia Giannelli and Chiari Rapallini published in the Economics of Education Review, math skills are more transferable than language skills.
Mathematics is not only important for economic development, it is an integration tool for immigrant students in school and in society. Removing it will not only harm the quality of education in California, but will have serious long-term socio-economic consequences.
I am an Iranian American. There are children in my community who moved to California with their families with high hopes of accomplishing things they couldn’t in Iran due to political and economic crises. Few of them speak English and most have little or no knowledge of American history and literature. So initially the only thing that allows them to compete in their class is math.
Calculating social justice won’t help Iranian Americans succeed, and it won’t help other minorities, either.
If California education officials are truly concerned about reducing the inequality of learning outcomes in education, they should focus on improving English lessons, not evacuating students. math programs.
In addition, mathematics is one of the few subjects on which all nations have collaborated for thousands of years. We may never agree on ideology, government system or genre of music, but we all agree that 2 + 2 = 4. Students interested in exploring issues related to music. social justice should have the opportunity to pursue them voluntarily, not forcefully.
Tahmineh Dehbozorgi is a columnist for the Southern California News Group. You can follow her on Twitter @DeTahmineh.