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The war on math continues

A photograph of the Greek letter pi, created as a large stone mosaic embedded in the ground.
pi in mosaic, Berlin/Holger Motzkau

It was bound to happen, of course, and the Seattle school board offers a preview of the Woke curriculum:

Other questions demonstrate an equal intellectual deficit. “How is math manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to exist?” and “How has math been used to resist and liberate people and communities of color from oppression?” Just one of the sub-questions that students will be invited to consider here is “How can we use math to measure the impact of activism?” Because, of course, what matters most in this world is engaging in impactful activism. Elsewhere students will be invited to consider the following question, “Can you suggest resolutions to oppressive mathematical practices?”

Douglas Murray, “Will maths succumb to the woke wave?” at Unherd

Murray points out, sensibly, that the smart students will probably learn the math themselves along with the correct blather to spout in response to the timewasters. But what about those who struggle?

A rather basic knowledge of maths would help such people and come in very handy in their lives: in ordering their finances, and working out their day-to-day interactions with others.

Douglas Murray, “Will maths succumb to the woke wave?” at Unherd

But then they maybe wouldn’t need so big an army of middle-class government employees people to run their lives… At least it’s clear who this kind of curriculum really benefits.

Some of us remember back to when only the arts disciplines were being ruined. But yes, math can be ruined too.

That will make it hard to talk to people about a lot of science stuff, including science controversies. But hey, they’ll still have astrology.

See also: The progressive war on science takes dead aim at math


Which side will atheists choose in the war on science? They need to re-evaluate their alliance with progressivism, which is doing science no favours.

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Just a note for those arguing about the image on the linked article - most images like that are just stock images. I doubt it even is showing a real classroom. johnnyb
kf @ 6 - I don't think that's what they are doing. The underlying issue is that maths is a part of society, so can be looked at sociologically. Some of the issues they raise are important and interesting (e.g. most of the essential questions under "Reflection and Action"): these are the sorts of thing one would hope to see students learn (i.e. that maths has a use in the real world), and the "What does it mean to do math?" section looks like it could be very helpful for students. The problem is when it gets more normative, e.g the "Power and Oppression" section, which seems to take a naïve attitude towards ethnic relationships (yes, there has been oppression, but I think reality is more complex than that). Bob O'H
I absolutely agree with 5, kf. For instance, it should be d = rt (with r for rate, not s for speed), with simple algebraic transformations producing the other two equations. hazel
BO'H, that's actually worse. They obviously are mobilising to take Mathematics under siege as a tool generally used to oppress. KF kairosfocus
I thought that three-term eqn triangle trick for X = Y * Z was hardly worth noting; save as a quick mnemonic for especially weak students. To see it repeatedly instead of teaching the logic of variation and linked algebra and graphing etc is worrying. Not to mention the principle of the eqn that RHS re-states LHS and so changes on one side are reflected on the other, leading to the "move over" short hand tricks etc. kairosfocus
I agree that this framework looks pretty odd, but it isn't part of the maths curriculum in Washington. The web address puts it under "social studies", and after a bit of googling, I found the relevant committee's webpage. It's a pity Mr. Murray hadn't done some simple research first. Bob O'H
Maths is used in England, math in the U.S. That's the simple difference. They are both short for mathematics. hazel
OK, I'm easily confused, but when did we get "maths" (plural)? I mean, well, yeah, there is a difference between which kinds of problems you solve with Algebra and which you solve with Geometry, but they still assume a standard system of arithmetic. Is there some drive to CHOOSE to make writing as confusing as possible? vmahuna
That is terrible. And, FWIW, some of the posters hanging in the hall in the picture are pretty bad, also. :-( hazel

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