California is set to adopt new math teaching principles that are based in critical race theory. These changes, which include deemphasizing calculus and pulling programs for academically gifted students, will “apply social justice principles to math lessons.”
These guidelines do not instruct educators to teach critical race theory, but rather use critical race theory as a guide for the formation of teaching principles. Critical race theory is not being taught to students, but taught to teachers, who are then meant to use it to formulate their own practices.
The goal of the new math framework is “to maintain rigor while also helping remedy California’s achievement gaps” for black, Latino, and poor students. the reason for the changes is that California students are falling behind in math.
“We were transforming math education, and change is hard and scary,” Rebecca Pariso, a math teacher at Hueneme Elementary School District told the San Francisco Standard. “Especially if you don’t understand why that change needs to occur. But I didn’t expect it to go this far.” The inspiration for these new guidelines came from San Francisco educational standards.
In the new guidelines, which will up for consideration prior to their potential adoption in July, reading in Chapter 2, “Teaching for Equity and Engagement,” reads that “Cultural relevance is important for learning and also for expanding a collective sense of what mathematical communities look and sound like to reflect California’s diverse history.”
It goes on to slam mathematics for, “over the years,” having “developed in a way that has excluded many students.”
Pariso said “There’s a huge problem with math instruction right now. The way things are set up, it’s not giving everybody a chance to learn math at the highest levels.”
“Because of these inequities, teachers need to work consciously to counter racialized or gendered ideas about mathematics achievement,” they write.