You might think your children would be safe from indoctrination into critical race theory (CRT) and other political ideologies in math classes.
But a recent story from Florida – along with other examples from school districts across the country – shows that parents must be just as watchful and involved with what’s taught in math classes as they are with any other subject.
Florida’s Department of Education illustrated the way ideology is injected into mathematics when it rejected a slew of math textbooks that did not meet the state’s criteria. Of the 132 textbooks submitted for review, 54 were not approved.
Textbooks were not approved when they did not meet Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking Standards, contained references to critical race theory (CRT), included Common Core teaching standards, and/or incorporated “the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics.”
In a press release, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran stated, “We’re going to ensure that Florida has the highest-quality instructional materials aligned to our nationally-recognized standards.”
He said the state continued “to reinforce parents’ rights by focusing on providing their children with a world-class education without the fear of indoctrination or exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts in our classrooms.”
The DOE had informed publishers that textbooks submitted for review must meet the state’s instructional standards and “that they should not incorporate unsolicited strategies such as SEL in their instructional materials.”
Haven’t heard about SEL before now? We’ll write more on this in the future, but here’s a little bit of information about this educational tool that is used in schools across the nation.
The Pioneer Institute is a Massachusetts public policy institute that supports free markets, opposes Common Core curriculum, and trains charter school operators. In a report titled, “Social-Emotional Learning: K-12 Education as New-Age Nanny State,” the organization said SEL was originally pitched to educators as a way to help students “understand and manage emotions, achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But the report explains some of the problems with SEL, including the fact that states are storing subjective data on students and their medical and mental health histories. The authors note the risk of such data being shared outside the educational system.
SEL is also problematic because schools decide what are the “appropriate” and “correct” norms, beliefs and attitudes for students – not their parents and families.
This has become a serious issue, as SEL has linked with woke racial, ecological, social justice, equity and sexual ideologies. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, explains that SEL has morphed to become “transformative,” in an effort to change students beliefs and ideas.
Parents should be aware that textbooks are just one way that math can be turned into propaganda in schools. Radical ideologies can also infiltrate schools as teachers attend trainings and bring what they learned into the classroom.
As reported in The Daily Citizen last year, the Oregon Department of Education encouraged teachers to attend a “Math Equity” course. The course was rooted in CRT dogma and included instruction for teachers in “dismantling racism in mathematics instruction,” “sustaining equitable practice,” and “shift their instructional beliefs and practices toward antiracist math education.”
In another example, the organization Parents Defending Education reported on Iowa City Schools, where school staff were encouraged to participate in courses like “Ethnomathematics: The Study of Math as a Cultural Activity.”
Successful math programs can also be shut down because they produce results that are considered “racist” or “inequitable,” based on performance differences between ethnic or socio-economic groups.
In Virginia, the state’s DOE was developing the “Virginia Math Pathways Initiative” that would have eliminated accelerated math classes before 11th grade and created a new state-wide math framework “to remedy inequities among various demographics.”
As education in many schools takes a left turn, parents should know they can speak out, take action and make a difference – just as Virginia parents did.
Our free resource Back to School – For Parents can help busy parents understand what’s happening in schools and take practical steps to protect children. State-based policy groups are another good resource for parents who want to make a difference in their community and state. Find out more about your state’s group, here.
Photo from Shutterstock.