DORI MONSON

Dori: Math racist in Seattle Schools according to ‘Math Ethnic Studies Framework’

Oct 1, 2019, 2:42 PM | Updated: Oct 2, 2019, 6:34 pm
Math Ethnic Studies Framework, Seattle teacher...
This is the framework for a Seattle Public Schools unit on math and oppression. (Seattle Public Schools)
(Seattle Public Schools)

If you go to the Washington State superintendent’s website, you will find a curriculum for the Seattle Public Schools that has been implemented this year — the “K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework.”

I know what you are thinking: “How can math be related to ethnic studies?” Well, prepare to be enlightened.

Here are the topics covered in the unit:

  • Origins, Identity, and Agency
  • Power and Oppression
  • History of Resistance and Liberation
  • Reflection and Action

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And then it goes on to give the descriptions for each of these themes.

Origins, Identity and Agency, as defined by ethnic studies, is the ways [sic] in which we view ourselves as mathematicians and members of broader mathematical communities. Mathematical theory and application is rooted in the ancient histories of people and empires of color. All human endeavors include mathematical thinking; from humanities to the arts to the sciences.

I especially like the phrase “is the ways” in a document from a school district.

Power and oppression, as defined by ethnic studies, are the ways in which individuals and groups define mathematical knowledge so as to see “Western” mathematics as the only legitimate expression of mathematical identity and intelligence. This definition of legitimacy is then used to disenfranchise people and communities of color. This erases the historical contributions of people and communities of color.

Did you realize when you subtracted one number from another that you were disenfranchising people by using Western math?

The history of resistance and liberation, as defined by ethnic studies, is the stories, places, and people who helped liberate people and communities of color using math, engineering, and technology. Access to mathematical knowledge itself is an act of liberation.

Student action, as defined by ethnic studies, is fostering a sense of advocacy, empowerment, and action in the students that creates internal motivation to engage in and contribute to their identities as mathematicians. Students will be confident in their ability to construct & decode mathematical knowledge, truth, and beauty so they can contribute to their experiences and the experiences of people in their community.

Wow. I feel so guilty. I’m never going to add numbers again.

Of all the subjects to be used as an example of ethnic studies, I never thought math would be trotted out as an example of oppression. The K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework is absolute insanity.

This is what happens when you allow radicals to take control of the schools. You start seeing problems where they cannot exist — like in the objective world of mathematics.

We’re now reducing math to a divisive sociological issue — and that’s the kind of reduction and division we don’t want to be teaching.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Math racist in Seattle Schools according to ‘Math Ethnic Studies Framework’