WASHINGTON, D.C. – Would you ever consider the question ‘Whom do you want to be president?’ to be asked of your third grader during a math class (or any class)?
Would you expect your fourth grader to be asked to create a chart of presidents along with their political persuasions? Or, how about a discussion on whether the 2000 presidential election resulted in a “fair” outcome? Or, what if the teacher for your sixth grader was advised to “be prepared” to discuss the “politically charged” 2000 election – all during math.
Common Core aligned, of course.
“primary contributor of resources for teaching and learning mathematics for grades pre-K—12.”
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will be holding a conference April 9-12 in New Orleans where they will be discussing
“such crucial issues as formative assessment in the common core state standards, number and operations, social justice, teaching computational fluency with understanding, leveraging technology, and supporting new teachers.” [Emphasis added]
Social Justice? During math?
Delving into a couple of lessons just a bit:
In a lesson on Histograms vs. Bar Graphs, teachers are advised to “Start the lesson by engaging students in a discussion about the Presidents of the United States.” Then,
“if no students suggest party affiliation and age at the time the person enters office, bring these characteristics into the discussion.”
The recommended website to gather data is Presidents — Infoplease, where a list of presidents and their political parties and religious affiliations are listed, as well as the their ages when they entered office and when they died.
Abraham Lincoln’s religion, by the way, is listed as “liberal,” whatever that means.
The presidents are all linked to pages that describe their respective presidencies, and some of the revisionist history is jaw-dropping.
For example, Ronald Reagan’s page reads in part,
“Over strenuous congressional opposition, Reagan pushed through his ‘supply side’ economic program to stimulate production and control inflation through tax cuts and sharp reductions in government spending. However, in 1982, as the economy declined into the worst recession in 40 years, the president’s popularity slipped and support for supply-side economics faded.”
What an interesting way to avoid the economic boom and massive reduction in unemployment that took place between 1983 – 1989.
Isn’t this a math class???
It says (falsely!) in part,
“Some of the Constitution’s authors did not trust the ability of the common voter to make the ‘right’ decision, so they devised the Electoral College as one way of lessening the power of the popular vote.” [Emphasis added]
This statement is embarrassing. And blatantly false.
In fact, the founding fathers were highly critical of a pure democracy, which has been referred to as a “Tyranny of the Majority.” A great example of how a majority can lead to tyranny is the how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently revoked the 200-year-old senate filibuster rule known as the “nuclear option.” The founders’ vision of checks and balances was relabeled as “obstructionism” and the tyranny of the majority has raised it’s ugly head, as the founders warned, and as discussed at Liberty Unyielding.
In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison explains,
“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” [Emphasis added]
The founding fathers are repeatedly misrepresented. The only way to really understand their intent is to read their actual words.
Mathematics and Social Justice
After searching “social justice” on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website, one finds that it is quite a popular phrase, with 130 results.
Some random clicks include such language as,
- “Educators increasingly recognize the important role that mathematics teaching plays in helping students to understand and overcome social injustice and inequality.”
- “This case study examines the practice of a full-time mathematics teacher and social activist working in a secondary school with the twin missions of college preparation and social justice.”
Those are two examples, out of 130. It is overwhelming.
Admittedly, this author is not an expert on Common Core standards or the new “radical math,” but just a cursory look at these lesson plans indicate that “math” is not the only thing elementary school children are learning.