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Hitting The Books

In Newton Massachusetts the top priority for teaching mathematics, as documented in by the school district's official curriculum benchmarks, is described as such:

"Respect for Human Differences - Students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors."

"Students will: Consistently analyze their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination; Take effective anti-bias action when bias or discrimination is identified; Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them; Demonstrate how their membership in different groups has advantages and disadvantages that affect how they see the world and the way they are perceived by others... - etc...

Learning basic math skills appears to be and afterthought, and it's showing up in test scores. KelliPundit has the rest of the story.

Comments (10)

Sounds more like a social s... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Sounds more like a social science class than a math class.

What exactly does working with people of different backgrounds and how it affects them have to do with math?

I wonder if analyzing their... (Below threshold)

I wonder if analyzing their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination will include discriminating against using ballpoint pens in favor of #2 penciles when they take the IOWA/SAT/Insert Standardized Test Here. Perhaps between discriminating between right and wrong answers on those tests, or showing a bias towards brighter students in their grading system.

Plus, don't forget that acc... (Below threshold)

Plus, don't forget that according to the criteria established by CBS News, faked or forged test answers are acceptable, since we know they are definitely NOT indicative of bias.

After 9/11 Newton North HS ... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

After 9/11 Newton North HS and Newton South HS had a joint assembly with Howard Zinn as the guest speaker explaining why 9/11 was the US fault.

Work with people of differe... (Below threshold)

Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them...

The experience really sucked, because rather than learn math, I had to make sure our group had one whitey, one African-American, one Asian-American, one Middle Eastern-American, one Mexican-American...

It was tough because 40% of the class is white. Ten white kids had to sit around staring at the walls until the other white kids were done with their "Minorities". No wonder white kids are so dumb.

This is blatantly awful, th... (Below threshold)

This is blatantly awful, that information. What that institution is saying, as to "math" is that it's assumed that "other people" of "other types" will be disadvantaged in "math" and that everyone else must avow to take steps to not mention those disadvantages about those "other people" in "math"...

Meaning, there's a blatant display if I've ever seen one in a pretense of education to display an institutional awareness about who can do what and knows how to do it and don't you dare bring it up or we'll blame the student who notices and...

It's the stupidest thing I've ever read by anyone in education, or trying to be. Perhaps Massachusetts has noticed it's brain drain problem, given that the better students in quantification skill areas go elsewhere to escape the terror.

This is so lame. Seeing bi... (Below threshold)

This is so lame. Seeing bias, being biased, and dealing with it yourself is part of growing up.

I had an experience when I was twelve where I called a member of my social group "You Catholic". I was passing on a bias that I had heard from my Mother. The group chastised me and I felt so bad about it, I still feel shame to this day, 50 years later.

Schools need to be teaching the three R's. Children's peers will call them on their biases.

So, if taken seriously, the... (Below threshold)

So, if taken seriously, then, that means that "math" students (that institution, per those requirements) can now provide any answers to any problems because math is a social skill? Or, a skill that is varied such that the answers can be explained away as myriad or whatever due to cultural and differences in awareness?

And here I thought that "math" was a language of quantification, based upon absolutes. I guess not. So, now instead of "invisible numbers" we can have numbers of various colors and orientations and cultures? I.did.not.know.that.

Have you seen the devastati... (Below threshold)
Bob S.:

Have you seen the devastating takedown at Gene Expression? Read the stuff from the middle of the post to get an idea on the philosophy underlying these schemes.

What has been posted on thi... (Below threshold)
Johan Tiberius:

What has been posted on this site is the General Curriculum Core Values, which I'm sure as close to a boiler-plate document as possible and probably reads exactly like YOUR school district's "Core Values".
The Mathmatics curriculum in Newton is defined as such..."The goal of the math department is to support classroom environments that allow the students to develop into self-motivated and independent learners who are prepared for the coming years. Our mathematics curriculum continues the Connected Mathematics Program (CMP) Each unit is focused around problem situations or a project. This is done so that students learn to do mathematics in a context and to see mathematics as the study of relevant, interrelated ideas. The work students do in CMP help them develop a deeper understanding of mathematics and learn to apply these skills in new situations."






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