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Oregon-Backed Training Urges Teachers To Dismantle ‘Racism In Mathematics’

Salem, OR – The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has endorsed a training program aimed at helping teachers to combat “racism in mathematics.”

The ODE devoted a portion of its recent newsletter to the “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course,” urging middle school educators to sign up for the upcoming Feb. 21 training session.

The course centers on “ethnomathematics,” and asserts, in part, that white supremacy manifests itself in the pursuit of finding the correct answer, FOX News reported.

The Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction’s website outlines a five-part curriculum aimed at helping educators “to develop an anti-racist math practice…as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.”

The first “stride” of the course includes exercises to help teachers to “reflect on their own biases” while “dismantling racism in mathematics instruction,” according to the website.

One section of the curriculum discusses ways in which “white supremacy culture” allegedly manifests itself and “infiltrates math classrooms,” FOX News reported.

Examples of this alleged white supremacy culture apparently include requiring students to “show their work” and the focus placed “on getting the ‘right’ answer,” according to the news outlet.

According to the guide, “asking students to show their work is a ‘crutch’ for teachers to understand what students are thinking,” The Blaze reported.

Subjecting students to a grading system is also allegedly racist, as are “writing skills” and “worship of the written word,” according to The Blaze.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the course material asserts, according to FOX News. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

The program also links with the “Dismantling Racism” workbook, which further claims that “objectivity” is a white supremacy concept.

“The belief that there is such a thing as being objective or ‘neutral’” is characteristic of white supremacy, the workbook asserts, according to FOX News.

Educators should come up with at least two different answers to answer any given problem instead of focusing on just one correct answer, according to the curriculum.

“Challenge standardized test questions by getting the ‘right’ answer, but justify other answers by unpacking the assumptions that are made in the problem,” the program “toolkit” recommends.

Identifying and challenging the ways in which “math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views” should also be at the forefront, according to the training materials.

“We cannot dismantle racism in a system that exploits people for private profit,” one portion of the workbook reads. “If we want to dismantle racism, then we must build a movement for economic justice.”

Teachers are urged to do away with any references to money in their math problems so they can avoid emphasizing “real-world math,” which allegedly upholds “capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world,” the book reads, according to the Daily Caller.

Another section of the workbook declares that “only white people can be racist in our society, because only white people as a group have that power,” FOX News reported.

Justification of anti-police sentiments is also addressed.

“In some cases, the prejudices of oppressed people (‘you can’t trust the police’) are necessary for survival,” the workbook reads, according to FOX News.

According to the workbook, white supremacy further infiltrates mathematics by allegedly valuing “independent practice…over teamwork or collaboration,” the Daily Caller reported.

“While there is some value in students being able to complete work independently, when this is the only or most common avenue for learning or practicing, it reinforces individualism and the notion that I’m the only one,” the material reads.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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