Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sol Stern on Social Justice Math

"Look, you fools. You're in danger. Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here already. YOU'RE NEXT!"
-- The Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Sol Stern writes for City Journal -- "the nation’s premier urban-policy magazine," published by the conservative think tank, The Manhattan Institute. Stern recently wrote about how social justice math appears to be taking hold of New York City schools.

How does such nuttiness cross over from the socialist English departments to the typically apolitical math departments? Well, under the guise of cross-subject integration of course. You know it as the end product of all those tax-funded teacher collaboration periods supported by the administration, and their philosophical mentors at Educational Leadership.

Why teach math when you can simply instill social guilt, and a potent dose of Marxist rhetoric? There really is no better way to create future generations that are unable to logically defend the principles that founded this great nation.

Read about Gramsci, the supposed favorite philosopher of Bill Clinton and the rest of the socialist gang.

As reported by Stern:
At a plenary session, Professor Marilyn Frankenstein of the University of Massachusetts’ math education department proclaimed that elementary school teachers should not use traditional math lessons, in which students calculate, say, the cost of food. Rather, the teachers should make clear that in a truly “just society,” food would “be as free as breathing the air.”
Social justice math -- the intellectual version of the original, and now classic, sci-fi horror flick, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- is bound for the Midwestern suburbs; if it already isn't here.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The encroachment of socialist nonsense into our schools' mathematics departments has already begun, however improbable as it would have seemed just a few years ago. The introduction of alternative algorithms--a concession to accommodate the lowest classroom achievers and which amounts to a "fairness doctrine" of sorts--represented the tipping point in that direction. It will only be a matter time before such topics, including Global Warming, population density and resource scarcity become the new paradigm in public education mathematics instruction.

Just as our English teachers corrupted the teaching of language; our math teachers are turning mathematics into a non science. This is particularly dangerous--even moreso than the abandonment of traditional language arts education. Whereas humanities-based disciplines exercise the verbal and written communication of ideas, thoughts, and most importantly--opinions; science-based disciplines exercise theories which are postulations based on fact-bearing research and peer review. Ultimately, the path of research and postulation leads the practitioner to a conclusion.

What the encroachment of humanities-based "social justice" nonsense into mathematics represents is the corruption of scientific method: the path of discovery has been predetermined to reach a particular conclusion, or to support an opinion or an agenda.
Gee...you think I just described "An Inconvenient Truth"?

It's anti-science and anti-intellectualism--and it's just the thing our teachers, administrators and school board believe our kids need more of!

Stop this madness. Take back OLSD. Elect members to the school board who will no longer just "leave curriculum matters in the hands of the 'professionals'", as Brad Reynolds has said.

Anonymous said...

You need to know a few things about the staff at OLSD. First, we aren't all liberals; far from it, in fact. But by nature, religious conservatives aren't loud and boisterous.

Just because the OEA endorses every nut job liberal candidate doesn't mean WE do. In ten years I haven't been asked once by the OEA to indicate which candidate I endorse, yet the OEA proudly endorsed Kerry in the previous Presidential election...on whose authority!? Not ours. Some of us are beginning to put pressure on our local union to better represent us next cycle. An open and honest vote of the Olentangy electorate to take to the state level union would be a first. And the dissention from within the ranks would shock the heck out of the OEA. That would pull the rug right out from under the OEA/NEA supposed powerhouse influence.

Secondly, math curriculums come pre-packaged. You conservative parents MUST GET ORGANIZED AND GO AFTER THE PUBLISHING HOUSES. These workbooks are produced by companies who bow down to liberals, so get organized and fight. We don't have the means to influence change from within. As taxpayers YOU DO.

The Constitution left the authority to decide curriculum to the states, but with the introduction of national standardized tests our authority at the local level is being usurped. Get organized and go after the primary culprits: Publishing Houses.

Jim Fedako said...

4:05,

Religious conservatives are not loud and boisterious? Why not? Jesus had no trouble talking over the masses and offending the status quo.

When your collective voice becomes public, I will truly be shocked. When you individually make a public stand, against your union and its nonsense, I will be doubly shocked.

Regarding curriculum, the board adopts the curriculum in the name of its residents. They have always taken their cue from the adminstration and staff. So, it's back in your court.

Read my postings on the state tests before you condemn them. The tests are the product of the state's teachers and administrators. The ball is doubly back in your court.

Let's see if you act.

Anonymous said...

Most aren't confrontational. I can't figure it out either. We're commanded to be the "Salt and light"; not the sugar. Maybe it's the fact that the book of Revelation has already been written, so people wonder what's the use in fighting?

I do take a stand...every day in the classroom I encourage kids to question the pseudo-science of human-induced global warming, point out examples of the rampant bias of media and encourage like-thinking, question attacks on people based on that bias. How many parents have noticed/supported/thanked me? ZERO. But I keep doing it because the only success will come in planting seeds of discernment for truth in the next generation.

Regarding textbooks, I think you understand the pitfalls of working by committee well. The punch line is: working by committee doesn't work. There are many who are just too timid to stand with those who rock the boat, especially when we get knocked around all the time by people for discipline issues and what-not.

Occasionally we go through a process of textbook selection. Why aren't parents represented? You're the ones toiling at the dinner table at night, and you're the ones footing the bill.

Get parents organized, go to a board meeting and ask to have a parent group formed. PLEASE!

The last time I was involved in selections we were sent choices from central office; most of them junk (not the office's fault), so we chose the best from those available. That speaks volumes.

We don't have the necessary respect from publishers to allow us to throw them back and say rewrite them. These books are written by college professors who snub their noses from the world of academia anyhow.

I've already sewn the seeds from within to represent our vote next election cycle, and that's a milestone for us. I'll keep pressing for more.

I also wrote a letter to the OEA last cycle condemning the obsurdity of their periodical. The cover supposedly representing teachers. The gal on the cover looked like a tramp; shirt buttoned only halfway up, hair disheveled, and Phi Delta Kappan on the bookshelf in a high school classroom. Come next election cycle the newsletter was cleaned up. The OEA knows there isn't concensus within the ranks (but the picture they paint publicly is different) and they know they're amateurs.

Jim Fedako said...

5:12,

Thanks for the additional info.

Yes. I do know how committees function. And, yes, their product is most lukewarm mush.

But, let me extend that line of reasoning. At it's absolute - hypothetical - best, government in simply a committee. True, totalitarian governments move by the voice of one, but even that one needs help with decisions.

Contrast that with the free market. Committees do not exist to guide every effort. Entrepreneurs are free to judge what the consumer wants. No mush, just hot and cold efforts. The cold is sent packing by the consumer, leaving the hot for consumption.

Let's get rid of government - committee - run schools and allow subsequent generations to achieve their individual potentials.