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DeSantis Defends Math Education from CRT, Social Emotional Learning and Common Core Indoctrination

By Craig Bannister | April 20, 2022 | 12:43pm EDT
Gov. Ron DeSantis
(Getty Images/Saul Loeb)

“Math is about getting the right answer. And, we want kids to learn to think, so get they the right answer,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said Monday, explaining why his state has rejected math textbooks that include elements of “social justice” ideology.

“It’s not about how you ‘feel’ about the problem, or to introduce some of these other things,” Gov. DeSantis explained in his speech. Math education should not be used to indoctrinate young students on issues like Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning and Common Core principles, DeSantis said:

“There’s a right answer and there’s a wrong answer. And, we want all our students getting the right answers.

“And so, most of the books that did not meet Florida standards, for whatever reason, happened to be in the early grades. As you get into the older grades, most of those books did meet the standards. But, we’re going to continue to focus the education on the actual, strong academic performance of the students.”

“We don’t want things, like math, to have some of these other concepts introduced. It’s not been proven to be effective and, quite frankly, it takes our eye off the ball,” the governor said.

Florida recently rejected a record number of textbooks for content violating the state's standards, The Daily Wire reported Tuesday.

Efforts to change math education to include racial and social justice concepts have ranged from a California education policy, to news articles suggesting the practice of math education itself is racist, to a policy statement by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), Fox News reported Tuesday.

NCSM’s "Mathematics Education Through the Lens of Social Justice: Acknowledgment, Actions, and Accountability" calls for math curriculum that "interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education—and in society as a whole."

The position paper claims that current mathematics education is “unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination” and a form of “oppression”:

“Mathematics teachers and leaders must acknowledge that the current mathematics education system is unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender.”

….

“There must be acknowledgment of the unjust system of mathematics education, its legacy in segregation and other forms of institutional systems of oppression, and the hard work needed to change it. The actions taken must be driven by commitments to re-frame, re-conceptualize, intervene, and transform mathematics education policies and practices that do not serve to promote fair and equitable mathematics teaching and learning.”

The paper also condemns standardized testing, claiming that it is used to segregate students by race, gender and class:

“Mathematics achievement, often measured by standardized tests, has been used as a gatekeeping tool to sort and rank students by race, class, and gender starting in elementary school.”

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