Mrs. Noe presented to the board, the districts choice for kindergarten through sixth grade math curriculum, Great Minds Eureka Math Squared. She explained the processes that she and math staff members took to come to their final decision. We began a pilot of this program during the 2020-21 school year through to the current year with sixth grade. Mrs. Noe shared the improvements with students during this pilot and the students are quickly approaching the state average percentage with ILEARN. We are closing the gap with this program and new leadership at Goshen Intermediate School. She stated we have concrete feedback from staff and students alike. Mrs. Noe is requesting approval from the board on the March 13, 2023, school board meeting. Mr. Garber asked about assessments. Mrs. Noe explained how the teachers retrieve data. She said the Assessment Task Force will also streamline. She also stated upon approval, professional development will begin early as April or May if approved in March. Minutes of the Feb. 6 Goshen School Board Meeting
I have requested to see a copy of this curriculum and was told that I would get one to review before any vote on the matter. That was in February and I have not received a copy. It is my understanding that this is now tabled. However, of note is that this curriculum is an "Equity" math curriculum, as was the Desmos math program presented the end of last year, also by Mrs. Noe. This is important for multiple reasons, but in light of the Accuracy in Media presentation revealing the deception surrounding the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee I think that it has taken a new importance. DEI committees look for curriculum that advances their "equity" agenda and Mrs. Noe was in support of both that committee and it's coverup. These agendas attack religion, morality, and western civilization as inherently racist at an institutional level and call on math to be "resistant" and against objective truth. During this presentation, Mrs. Noe presented an example problem which she said was a good example because it had no right or wrong answer. https://www.youtube.com/live/VtGaVpiinsI?feature=share&t=3949. That is one of the goals of equity math: the removal of objective truth (which is supposedly white supremacy in disguise).
So let's take a quick look at equity math. In looking at this, do not read everything at face value. You must have the terms defined by those pushing equity math because their definition may not be, and likely is not, your definition for those terms and ideas. For example, https://equitablemath.org/faq/ has this to say about equity math:
Equitable math instruction is the simple understanding that students and communities come from different backgrounds and may have different ways of being and thinking, even in math. Math problems, of course, have correct answers. And there are also a number of ways to get to the solution.
That sounds innocent enough. But this simple understanding is a front for something far more complex - and something that is not equitable at all. It is a disservice. Let's dig into what equitablemath.org has in mind for math learners.
White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when...There is a greater focus on getting the "right" answer than understanding concepts and reasoning. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict." A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 66 https://equitablemath.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/11/1_STRIDE1.pdf
What is objectivity? According to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objectivity: "the quality or character of being objective: lack of favoritism toward one side or another : freedom from bias." Mathematics is the most equitable program in the world because it is based on the laws of nature. It is objective truth. 2+2=4 will work no matter what tribe or ethnic group, no matter your language, from the farthest reaches of space to the depths of the sea. It is inherently equitable. Oddly enough, equity is a synonym of objectivity according to Merriam-Webster.
So then, why is objectivity bad in math? That is a very big question. Objective truth is not bad - unless you want a world where truth is defined by the individual who becomes truth unto themselves, a world where all are equal and no one fails, a world where achievement is determined from the outside, not by personal responsibility. Let's see why arriving at the correct answer is so bad according to the Equity Math viewpoint:
Professional Development: Study the purpose of math education, and re-envision it. Schooling as we know it began during the industrial revolution, when precision and accuracy were highly valued. What are the myriad ways we can conceptualize mathematics in today’s world and beyond? A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg.
In other words, we no longer value the precision and accuracy of math in a capitalist society and therefore objectivity is bad. We must re-envision math and the purpose of math education. Let's produce a different concept going forward in contrast with what drove the development of the western world. Further, let's politicize mathematics for this anticapitalistic end:
"Expose students to examples of people who have used math as resistance. Provide learning opportunities that use math as resistance." A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 9
Professional Development: As a department, identify expectations both within and across classrooms, and interrogate them for ways in which they uphold white supremacy culture and other dominant ways of being. (Re)align them with antiracist, social justice, transformative justice, and restorative justice practices. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 79
Math as resistance. Mathematics as a means of political activism. Math as revolutionary communism. The goal of this is political activism and making political activists, not math proficiency.
So what is the result of all this? What is the solution being presented and does it radically make for more math literate people of any ethnicity? Their answer for making math equitable is complexity. Literally. Not making it attainable and understandable to everyone, but making it complex and without clear answers on one hand and dumbed down on the other.
White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... There is a greater focus on getting the "right" answer than understanding concepts and reasoning... Instead... Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers. Classroom Activity: Challenge standardized test questions by getting the “right” answer, but justify other answers by unpacking the assumptions that are made in the problem. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 66
This is why the math problem presented was a great problem - since it had no right or wrong answer. While it is true the question, how do we build a bridge across the Mississippi river, can have multiple correct answers, each of those answers are arrived at by using math that has correct and incorrect answers. If at any point the answers provided violate the laws of math and physics, the bridge will fail regardless of the answer ultimately arrived at. It is impossible to get away from objectivity in math because math is based in the laws set up over nature which are universal. Math that violates those laws is bad math -period.
White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... Rigor is expressed only in difficulty.... Instead...Start with more complex math problems and scaffold as necessary. • Verbal Example: If we wanted to build a rocket, what are all the things we might need to know before we get started? Along the way, we decided that we want the rocket to reach the moon. What do we need to consider now? • Classroom Activity: When solving equations, start with the most complex problem, generate ideas for how to solve it, and use the simpler equations as examples to support those ideas. • Professional Development: As a department, engage with different ways to scaffold starting with the most complex task. • Also, see Math is taught in a linear fashion and skills are taught sequentially without true understanding of prerequisite knowledge. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 48
There are times to break down a problem starting with the need: We need to get to the moon, how are we going to do it. However, you answer that question by building on what you already know and then moving up the latter to what you need to know. You must start with simple and move to the complex in understanding concepts.
You don't teach a child to eat solid food with a piece of steak, you don't teach a baby to walk by starting with a marathon. You don't learn to drive at an Indy 500 race. Reading is learned best with phonics and building blocks. When you know the blocks, you can build complexity. The blocks are tools that work together. You don't start kindergarteners in Calculus. You give them building blocks that over the years get them to the point they can learn and understand calculus.
What is the end result of starting with complexity in this formulation? Dumbing it down.
As a department, solve complex problems without writing and share with each other about that process... Professional Development: Practice with math colleagues how to answer mathematical problems without using words or numbers. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 55
To what end? Our goal is proficiency in math and ELA. Not an inability to participate in written communication. A world of forced outside equality always comes with the promise of utopia, but in reality it requires that all be lowered to the lowest common denominator.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ANTIRACIST MATH EDUCATORS • Teach rich, thoughtful, complex mathematics. • Teach rigorous mathematics, understanding that rigor is characterized as thorough, exhaustive, and interdisciplinary. • Use mistakes as opportunities for learning. • Recognize mistakes as miscommunicated knowledge. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, pg. 10
2+2=5 is not miscommunicated knowledge. It is a wrong answer. If an engineer is determining load on the structural support of a building, and he miscalculates, it is not misapplied knowledge. It was the wrong answer. The building could fall down.
The end result of these types of principles being introduced into your child's math curriculum is not excellence in mathematics. This is simply political activism masquerading as math class. I am therefore opposed to and will vote against equity based math curriculums.
End of Part 2