The California Board of Education is set to postpone implementing a proposed overhaul of its mathematics curriculum during a Wednesday meeting after opponents argued the plan could harm students by needlessly inserting politics and social justice initiatives into lessons, Fox News reported on Tuesday.
The board apparently intends to delay a final decision on the curriculum to next May.
"California is on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way,” Dr. Williamson M. Evers, a senior fellow of the Independent Institute, said in a statement. “This postponement means the State Board of Education has heard the message loud and clear. STEM leaders don’t want California students left behind by introducing politics into the math curriculum.”
The board’s reconsideration of the initiative comes after hundreds of former and current experts working in science, math, and engineering, as well as others fields, signed an open letter that criticized the plan.
"For all the rhetoric in this framework about equity, social justice, environmental care and culturally appropriate pedagogy, there is no realistic hope for a more fair, just, equal and well-stewarded society if our schools uproot long-proven, reliable and highly effective math methods and instead try to build a mathless Brave New World on a foundation of unsound ideology," the letter reads.
According to drafts of the framework, the new curriculum would focus on equity to recognize "that mathematics, over the years, has developed in a way that has excluded many students," adding that because of inequities, "teachers need to work consciously to counter racialized or gendered ideas about mathematics achievement."
"All students deserve powerful mathematics; we reject ideas of natural gifts and talents," according to a bullet point in the framework. "The belief that 'I treat everyone the same' is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities."
The math proposal comes amid a nationwide debate across the country on introducing critical race theory curriculum into classrooms, with some Republican state leaders banning the teachings over concerns it is anti-American and racist, Fox News reported.
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
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