Over 1,160 STEM Professionals Sign Open Letter Urging Rejection of Proposed 'Social Justice' Math Framework in California Schools: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
November 9, 2021

Over 1,160 STEM Professionals Sign Open Letter Urging Rejection of Proposed “Social Justice” Math Framework in California Schools

Oakland, CA—According to over 1,160 signatories to an Open Letter from STEM academics, teachers, and business leaders to California’s education and political leaders, inserting politics and “social justice” into math curriculum will be disastrous to students and society.

The Open Letter’s powerful statement has prompted the California State Board of Education to postpone the adoption of the math curriculum until the spring of 2022. California law requires that all state-funded professional development, all training of teachers in state university schools of education, and all state-adopted textbooks and teaching materials in K-8 be in line with the official frameworks.

“California is still on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way. The effect of California’s proposed Mathematics Curriculum Framework would destroy opportunities for all California schoolchildren. It would harm the very children it purports to help,” says Independent Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Williamson M. Evers, one of the drafters of the letter.

According to the Open Letter, mathematics is a discipline whose language is universally accessible with good teaching. The claim that math is not accessible is an insult to the millennia of non-Western mathematicians and erases the contributions of cultures around the world to mathematics as we now know it, the letter states.

“This proposed framework will discourage districts from having advanced classes for gifted students. It’s going to block the rise of talented kids to important roles in society, serving us as engineers, getting rockets in the air and getting bridges built properly,” Evers adds.

The Open Letter urges educators to reject the proposed framework which distracts from actual mathematics by having teachers insert “environmental and social justice” into the math curriculum and asks teachers to assign students—as schoolwork—tasks it says will solve “problems that result in social inequalities.” The framework is overtly hostile toward California’s previous goal that students receive Algebra I instruction in the eighth grade or earlier—despite the fact that low-income, Black, and Latino students were the greatest beneficiaries of the state’s pursuit of that goal.

Signatories of the Open Letter include 846 STEM academics from 67 colleges and universities in California, including all UC schools, Stanford, USC, and Caltech, current and former California professionals in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and technology, along with venture capitalists, education experts, business executives and educators involved in STEM fields.

Read the Open Letter and the current list of signatories.

Credentials: Dr. Williamson M. Evers is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Educational Excellence at the Independent Institute. Dr. Evers was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development from 2007 to 2009; and Senior Adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings during 2007. He was a Commissioner on the 1996–98 California State Academic Standards Commission and a member of that Commission’s Mathematics and Science Subject Matter Committees. He was also a Commissioner on the 2010 California State Academic Standards Commission.

To interview Williamson Evers contact Robert Ade, [email protected], or (510) 635-3690.


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The Independent Institute is a non-profit, public policy, research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit Independent.org.

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