'Critical Math' Doesn't Add Up: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
April 7, 2022

“Critical Math” Doesn’t Add Up
Politics Plus Mathematics Equals Undermining Foundations of Success

Oakland, CA—All too often in K-12 classrooms, according to Williamson Evers and Ze’ev Wurman, we find “Che Guevara as an icon” in progressive teaching of math, claims of the “supposed evil” of Mercator-projection maps on the wall, and students being taught “time-consuming Mayan math.”

Evers and Wurman are Independent Institute scholars who co-authored a new policy report, “‘Critical Math’ Doesn’t Add Up: Race Consciousness and Radical Egalitarianism in the Curriculum.”

California’s newest proposed math framework for K-12 curriculum is still highly politicized and laden with dogma about politics, even after an outpouring of criticism from STEM professionals and college professors. California, Georgia, Oregon, Washington State, and Wisconsin are among the battlegrounds in the fight between proponents and opponents of “critical pedagogy”—including critical race theory—in teaching math in public schools.

“Proponents of critical theory want students to become new social justice warriors and green activists, instead of becoming workplace supervisors, engineers, statisticians, or rocket scientists. This is ideology, not science,” says Evers. “It is wrongheaded to claim that it’s racist for teachers to ask students to show their work in doing math problems. Such claims distract teachers from the solid instruction that students need.”

The policy report scrutinizes how math is taught in the name of social justice and racial equity. This doctrine of “critical” or “equitable” math is not supported by “real mathematicians,” Evers and Wurman maintain, but is instead supported by professors in teacher-training programs and by identity-politics activists.

Evers is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Educational Excellence at the Independent Institute, and Wurman is a Research Fellow there. The report is reprinted from the just released book The Critical Classroom, edited by Lindsey M. Burke, Jonathan Butcher, and Jay P. Greene. The authors who contribute to the book focus on the harmful effects of critical race theory in American education. The book has been published by the Heritage Foundation.


To read the policy report, click here.

Williamson M. Evers, Ph.D., 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.

Ze’ev Wurman is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Chief Software Architect with MonolithIC 3D Inc., and has over 30 years of experience in developing algorithms, CAD software, and hardware and software architectures. He has been a senior policy adviser with the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.

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

100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428
The Independent Institute is a non-profit 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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