Monday, June 27, 2005

Politicizing Mathematics

We thought it couldn't be done, but there's now Politically Correct Math being taught in schools. Diane Ravitch at OpinionJournal writes:
"Partisans of social-justice mathematics advocate an explicitly political agenda in the classroom. A new textbook, 'Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers,' shows how problem solving, ethnomathematics and political action can be merged. Among its topics are: 'Sweatshop Accounting,' with units on poverty, globalization and the unequal distribution of wealth. Another topic, drawn directly from ethnomathematics, is 'Chicanos Have Math in Their Blood.' Others include 'The Transnational Capital Auction,' 'Multicultural Math,' and 'Home Buying While Brown or Black.' Units of study include racial profiling, the war in Iraq, corporate control of the media and environmental racism. The theory behind the book is that 'teaching math in a neutral manner is not possible.' Teachers are supposed to vary the teaching of mathematics in relation to their students' race, sex, ethnicity and community."
Environmental racism?? This is mathematical racism, pure and simple. The message is, "Blacks and Hispanics can't learn math the 'normal' way." Dumbing down was bad enough, but if leftist politics comes to pervade math, what chance do the students have to learn what they need to get jobs in today's world? In a word: none.

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