OR is looking for a math teacher on “social justice”


Is 2 + 2 = 4 the expression of white supremacy?

The University of Oklahoma’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is looking for an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education who “will help increase interest and expertise” in “Mathematics for Equity and Social Justice.”

In a recent job posting, OU officials said that qualifications for the full-time, tenure-track assistant professor position in mathematics education include “a clear commitment to working for equity and justice in the teaching of mathematics ”.

What does the mathematics of “social justice” look like?

“This type of ‘math’ teaching is likely to reorganize math lessons, shifting from teaching basic math skills to teaching ‘social justice’ through mathematical examples and in a way that prioritizes learning. collectivism, based on similar positions in Oregon and Washington, “said James Lindsay, an scholar, author and mathematician who is also a recognized authority on critical race theory.” These programs use math lessons as a vehicle. to say things like “focusing on correct math answers supports the culture of white supremacy.” While they are unlikely to be taught that 2 + 2 = 5, they are most likely to be taught that there are more than one ways of thinking about the 2 + 2 question and that 5 is a possible answer under certain circumstances. while believing that 4 is the only correct answer is associated with a very rigid, perhaps “white” way of thinking.

Lindsay has written six books covering a wide range of topics, including religion, philosophy of science, and postmodern theory. His most recent book, Cynical theories: how the activists scholarship did it all about race, gender and identity, and why it hurts everyone, documents the evolution of critical theory (and critical race theory) and how its application today generates significant societal damage.

Various organizations and websites promoting “social justice” in mathematics line up with Lindsay’s observations.

The website blog The Teaching Maths for Social Justice Network calls for integrating “more social justice issues (such as different access to funding between different ethnic groups) into basic math education.”

The Duke University Department of Mathematics website states, “While the study of social justice is historically rooted in the social sciences and humanities, mathematics and computer science offer complementary and powerful approaches. Tools from dynamic systems, network science, applied topology, stochastic processes, data mining, etc. have been applied to issues ranging from voting to hate speech.

Solving World Problems, the blog of Frances Harper, assistant professor of STEM Education / Math at the University of Tennessee, states: (i.e. white, middle class, straight male). The existing math curriculum sends strong messages about who is capable of learning math. It’s no wonder that some students struggle to be successful in math and others actively choose not to engage in math.

A report from the equitablemath.org website titled “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction” warns: “Even when learning is tied to prior knowledge and experiences, the idea is often that teachers provide the learning and are in charge of disseminating the new information. This reinforces the ideas of paternalism and hoarding.

The guide “Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Education” also states that “the culture of white supremacy in the math classroom can emerge when” students are “required to“ show their work ”in a standardized and prescribed manner. “

This site also states that teachers should identify “and question the ways in which mathematics is used to defend capitalist, imperialist and racist views”.

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education trains many teachers who become instructors in the Oklahoma K-12 public school system.

Stacy Reeder, Dean of Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, said the “social justice” part of teaching positions is in line with the university’s current mission.

“This part of the job description aligns both with the university’s strategic plan – in particular its commitment to be a place of belonging for all – and with the long-standing position of the National Council of Teachers of math on ‘access and equity in math education,’ “Reeder said.” As the NCTM explains, a commitment to equity in math education requires “to be sensitive the backgrounds, experiences, cultural perspectives, traditions and knowledge of students when designing and implementing a mathematics program and evaluating its effectiveness “. We want our math education teachers to be committed to ensuring that all OU students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to learn challenging math content, receive the support they need to succeed and achieve success. become the next generation of teachers that Oklahoma children need and deserve. “

The National Council of Mathematics Teachers’ position statement on “Access and Equity in Mathematics Education” does not include any specific reference to “social justice”.

When Oklahoma lawmakers this year passed a law prohibiting state colleges from requiring students to take any “orientation or requirement that exhibits some form of racial or sexual stereotyping or prejudice based on race or sex, “OU President Joseph Harroz said the law” runs counter to the goals we have set for ourselves in our strategic plan and the initiatives we have put in place to make OU a place of true belonging for all ”.

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]

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