California’s Plan To Shove ‘Social Justice’ Into High School Math Now On Hold After Backlash

The California Department of Education has received a ton of criticism of parents and experts after posting up a draft of some potential revisions they are planning to make to the state’s guidelines concerning their math curriculum and courses.

The education department put up the draft of it’s potential reforms back in February, which they expected to see approved by November. However, major backlash to the new guidelines has led to the plans being put on hold.

“The guidelines, which would advise the state’s public schools and school administrators, would discourage the concept of gifted students while injecting social justice issues, such as gender theory and inequality, into coursework,” the Daily Wire said in its report.

The New York Times reports, “The California guidelines, which are not binding, could overhaul the way many school districts approach math instruction. The draft rejected the idea of naturally gifted children, recommended against shifting certain students into accelerated courses in middle school and tried to promote high-level math courses that could serve as alternatives to calculus, like data science or statistics.”

“The draft also suggested that math should not be colorblind and that teachers could use lessons to explore social justice — for example, by looking out for gender stereotypes in word problems, or applying math concepts to topics like immigration or inequality. …” the Times report continues.

“Like some of the attempted reforms of decades past, the draft of the California guidelines favored a more conceptual approach to learning: more collaborating and problem solving, less memorizing formulas,” the report adds.

The Times also said, “It also promoted something called de-tracking, which keeps students together longer instead of separating high achievers into advanced classes before high school.”

Here’s more from the Daily Wire:

The proposed framework has received condemnations from hundreds of STEM field professionals, educators, and public officials who have signed on to an open letter released in July to California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, the State Board of Education, and the Instructional Quality Commission.

“The proposed framework would, in effect, de-mathematize math. For all the rhetoric in this framework about equity, social justice, environmental care and culturally appropriate pedagogy, there is no realistic hope for a more fair, just, equal and well-stewarded society if our schools uproot long-proven, reliable and highly effective math methods and instead try to build a mathless Brave New World on a foundation of unsound ideology,” the letter goes on to say.

“A real champion of equity and justice would want all California’s children to learn actual math — as in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus — not an endless river of new pedagogical fads that effectively distort and displace actual math,” it states.

Proponents of the new guidelines say that the framework is needed to close the gap between high and low performing students. Stanford Professor Jo Boaler said that while “social justice” will be part of the new framework, its influence will be limited.

“I can tell you that the social justice angle is one that has been blown up,” Boaler said during an interview with CBS 8. “It’s not a huge part of what we’re recommending, but what we’re saying is, of course, mathematics can be used to highlight issues in the world.”

The plan’s timeline for approval has been changed to either spring or summer of 2022, after several more rounds of public comment and revisions are made.