Core Education


You knew it was coming sooner or later: Amairkuhn edykayshun has finally decided to go after mathematics as being discriminatory and segregating and, well, one suspects that behind all this whining, there's a group of people that just don't "get" all those hieroglyphics on the blackboard or in their no-longer-existing hardcopy textbooks, but they'd very much like to pretend to get all the hieroglyphics, and be able to write them too. But in any case, you heard it here: math - in the latest lunacy to come from Doctors of Edublither and Edubabble Departments sponsoring courses in Methodoloboggle for that all important "license to practice methodoloboggle" on hapless students called the "teacher certification"... yes, math has come under fire, according to this article shared by a number of people this week:

Math is "Unjust and grounded in discrimination" educators moan

Now, believe it or not, I'm not going to rant about this. Rather, I'm going to say these teachers might be on to something, but alas, they're probably on to something in a way that robs their discovery of all possible joy, and opens the door for more psychobabble and edublither, with healthy dollops of pedagogimuck thrown in for good measure in the many Departments of Edublither in the Amairkuhn quackademy:

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and TODOS: Mathematics for All “ratify social justice as a key priority in the access to, engagement with, and advancement in mathematics education for our country’s youth,” the groups declared last year in a joint statement, elaborating that “a social justice stance interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education—and in society as a whole.”

Math has "been used to educate children into different societal roles such as leadership/ruling class."   

Next month, NCSM and TODOS, along with a few other membership societies for math teachers, will host a free webinar drawing upon the principals noted in their joint statement, inviting any interested members of the public to join in hearing “A Call for a Collective Action to Develop Awareness: Equity and Soc....”

[RELATED: Teachers learn to use math as Trojan horse for social jus...

The president of NCSM, Connie Schrock, is a math professor at Emporia State University, and multiple professors serve on the board of TODOS.

While the organizations hope that math can be used as a tool for social justice in the future, they also believe that math has historically perpetuated “segregation and separation,” asserting in their joint statement that “mathematics achievement, often measured by standardized tests, has been used as a gatekeeping tool to sort and rank students by race, class, and gender starting in elementary school.”
(Emphasis added)

The real key here, to my mind, isn't all the claptrap about social justice and the other Bolshevizing cliches that pass for in depth commentary and social philosophy these days. The real problem is precisely the standardized test, which these teachers, in my opinion, get absolutely right: it is a sorting and slotting mechanism, because it was designed to be such at the outset, as Gary Lawrence and I point out in our book Rotten to the (Common) Core. The "project" was the brainchild of then Harvard president James Bryant Conant and his associate Henry Chauncey, who founded the Educational Testing (Dis)Service in Princeton.

I well remember these tests: we were told we could use scratch paper to "work out our answers," but we were never able to submit how we arrived at an answer as part of our "test." This was the exact opposite of the way we actually did it in my linear algebra or trig classes: there the teachers demanded we show our work, not just the answer. It was the process that interested them as much as it was the answer itself. Did we know the "useful shortcuts"? What steps did we use to solve the problem? Could we differentiate? Integrate? Did we even know what a differential was?

The standardized tests demanded none of that: they just wanted an "answer", and demanded that we, the students in South Dakota, somehow read the minds of the anonymous test-preparers in Princeton, minds which, as Mr. Lawrence and I pointed out in our book, were often agreed upon wrong answers and designing tests which, in the words of mathematician Banesh Hoffman, "punished the finer mind."

If these teachers are serious about their critique of standardized tests, then the answer is simple: get rid of them, altogether. Throw them and the whole rotten edubabble-textbook-Common Core "industry" out the door. But given the bolshevizing tendency of so much going on elsewhere in our culture, I'm not optimistic about what truckloads of nonsense they might be willing to drive through the opening. In this case, the cure might be worse than the disease. What we'll see instead, I fear, is more classes on methodoloboggle and pedagogimuck, with big dumplings of Gramscian "sensitivity" served up to attain one's "license to practice social justice in a mathematical context." The result, of course, will be more Navy crews that cannot steer a ship, more airplanes that don't work, and a federal budget that makes no sense, is missing trillions of dollars, because people, while being "sensivtive", can no longer add, subtract, multiply, or divide.

See you on the flip side...


  1. TPTB are now implementing plan B; Performance (Personalized/Proficiency) Based Learning where lessons are all taught by computer. Teachers will be facilitators of data management, no teaching involved. Mark Zuckerberg and wife are following the same script that Bill Gates did implementing common core. Automated teaching opens so many doors for evilness, privatisation, data collection, indoctrination, surveillance, untruths and dumbing down.

  2. I’m not at all sure that ignorance in any given school subject, or even all subjects, can be so fine tuned, since all this educational engineering is actually self-defeating even for those who nuture the most absurd neo-feudal dreams of living in a castle surrounded by dumb serfs (being served by robots does just NOT satisfy the pathological impulse to dominate other people…). The desire to exclude the “social advancement” of intelligent young people because they went to the “wrong school” (but wasn’t BRITISH not US society supposed to be disastrously class-ridden?) will be amply counterbalanced by the percentage of moron types in the “right schools”, which just do not produce enough personnel to ensure the operation of a complex society.

  3. My son had a great high school math teacher. The guy was hard core and loved the subject. If he had to do a multiple choice exam he would actually work out the WRONG answer by making some common mistakes! Those wrong answers would be in the 5 choices that the students could pick from.

    After the exam he would just look at the wrong answer picks. After marking he would then explain to the class the mistaken step they had used. He cover material more than once if a large percentage went down the same wrong path. The kids remembered it very well.

    The biggest reason governments don’t want a mathematically literate populace is once compounding interest is understood there would be hangings.

    Can you imagine what would happen if all those pension funds had even a third of their members looking at the numbers? They’d all take a lump sum and break the system because there is no way it can last. Take the Dallas fire and police for an example.

    Too big to fail or jail? Well the pension fund scam that is starting to unfold is simply “too big to bail”. It just can’t be done.

  4. Students from immigrant or racial minority communities should be grateful that “white and middle class” teachers are willing to teach them. Students who have mastered the prerequisite skills for a mathematics class they are enrolled in should not be discriminated against by enrolling students who haven’t. Teachers who have learned their subject should not be discriminated against by employing teachers who haven’t.

  5. Oh, yes, there’s that irony that the Soviets I’ve met (educated ones) had a much better handle on math.

    Hoffman, personal friend of G. Kron.

  6. Math has always been my worse subject though when push to the wall I will learn to use it. I learn how to calculate the area of a circle because of reading a science fiction novel. Mostly I round of to the nearest round number when calculating percentages in sale taxes. But then I have come to think that math is used in this society to confuse and hide the truth and reality of about every form of knowledge.

  7. Of course the stripping away of actual knowledge from education will only create unemployable misfits dependent upon the state.

    Wrapping the evil project in the cloak of racism is used to ensure that it will not be questioned — a page taken from the cry antisemitism nonstop playbook.


  8. Sigh….
    Black is the new white. Criminals are the police and government. There are now more genders than you can count. What passes for “science” is the new religion. White genocide is the new racism. Evil is good. War is peace. Debt is money.
    The movie Idiotocracy was prophecy.
    Stop the planet, I want to get off before it’s too late.

  9. “The last thing the PTB want is for a cow/bull to look up, see they are headed for the slaughtering chute, and decide to do something about that situation…”

    Well said and to the point! That’s what makes us the enemy and why the PTB are so afraid of us. Like it or not the PTB are just plain dumb hence they must hire a few of us common sense folk to move their agenda along and that bothers them immensely. They are petrified of being “found out”.

    Several years ago I received a course through my job entitled “Intermediate Fire Behavior” (I work 6 months each year as wildland firefighter). The second portion of the exam required us to “show our work” as the final answer wasn’t as important as the steps we took to arrive at the answer. The question was simple. Where would the head of the fire be after a given elapsed amount of time, a weather forecast, slope of the land measured in degrees, type of fuel, amount of fuel measured in tons per acre, etc. How large would the fire be and where would its perimeter be located, on a map. We had to combine all these factors using math and draw the fires progress on a map. The pass mark was 80 percent. In real life that head fire location can easily change due to many factors especially wind direction and wind speed, things not under our control, hence showing your work allows a greater understanding of the situation at hand and allows one to make changes to the attack plan “on the fly”. If one can’t show their work, their options in situations such as this can become severely limited which can lead to loss of property and/or life including your own when working in the real world. The social side of math would only help in determining how many burgers you could/should consume when you finally get that chance to pause and get a bite to eat…one wouldn’t want to look like a pig and basic math would be still be needed because you’d have to count the burgers.

    1. Thanks, Bluenose. Hats off to your wildland firefighter profession. A decade or so back, a bulldozer operator of a fire crew was caught by a sudden wind-shift and killed, just a few miles from the house where I was living. (Blessings.) That was when we were being converged-on by two fires. At night, you could see flames over the other side of a hill to the west, while a second fire was across a nearby river and coming-down a hillside to the east. It was scary for a while, before the lines stabilized. So, know that you and your fellows (and lasses) are profoundly appreciated!

  10. Coincidentally, I just snagged excellent-condition Calculus, Physics, and Radar Technology (the last, personally-signed by the author in 1977, so the good stuff) textbooks for about a dollar apiece at a Library book sale…

    Aside from gagging, my thought on the referenced article is that it is a ‘camel’s nose under the tent’ for the (further) dumbing-down of the American population. Expect an up-playing of sports and cheerleading, as fill-ins. And far-more US H-1B Visas for ‘specialty’ workers to be requested…

    Part of the ‘discipline’ of mathematics is the concentration required and the honing of ana lytical [hah!] thinking. This translates in the outer-world as the ability to think ahead. The last thing the PTB want is for a cow/bull to look up, see they are headed for the slaughtering chute, and decide to do something about that situation…

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