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TagWar on math

An abstract computer generated fractal design. A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.

The War on Math Becomes a Fight Over Textbooks

Florida, for example, rejected 54 math textbooks of 132 submitted by publishers on account of political content

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a piece about the war on math, basically an effort to entrench the idea that there is no such thing as reality apart from politics. A slogan for various wars on math has been 2 + 2 = 5. That proposition originated in the totalitarian Soviet Union. It found its way into 1984, in which George Orwell (1903–1950) repudiated totalitarianism, and resurfaced in recent years in the current American education elite. One tactic used that is more subtle than outright messing with the number system is the inclusion of political issues in math problems. Current affairs writer Steven Tucker explains how it works: If you were an author of school textbooks Read More ›

solving algebra equation on whiteboard in classroom

The War on Math Is Becoming an Entrenched Ground War

If math skills are rooted in white supremacy, as alleged, one current solution is tests that don’t require math skills

When we first started talking about the war on math, many readers may have thought we were joking. No. The war on 2 + 2 = 4 is getting some pushback but it continues. The basic idea is that the rules of math are rooted in white supremacy. Last December, the question was mooted at USA Today, “Is math racist?” The context was proposed changes to math education: After Ebri switched to emphasizing real-world problems and collaboration, her students, most of whom are Black, improved their scores on Florida’s math exam in 2020-21 – even with 1 in 3 learning from home. But other, bolder recommendations to make math more inclusive are blowing up the world of mathematics education. Schools Read More ›

Black female student in front of chalkboard

If Reality Is Fundamentally Mathematical, Why the War on Math?

Just as physicists are recognizing the mathematical nature of reality more clearly, the basic idea of getting math right is under fire in our schools

Sam Baron, a philosophy prof at Australian Catholic University, whose specialty is the philosophy of mathematics, argues in a new paper that mathematics is not a human invention. It gives structure to the world we live in. We simply observe it. So do many life forms, it seems. He offers an example: There are two subspecies of North American periodical cicadas that live most of their lives in the ground. Then, every 13 or 17 years (depending on the subspecies), the cicadas emerge in great swarms for a period of around two weeks. Why is it 13 and 17 years? Why not 12 and 14? Or 16 and 18? One explanation appeals to the fact that 13 and 17 are Read More ›

Educational kids math toy wooden board stick game counting set in kids math class kindergarten. Math toy kids concept.

Yes, There Really Is a War on Math in Our Schools

Pundits differ as to the causes but here are some facts parents should know

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics,” an education trend that argues, “among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer”: “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.” … An associated “Dismantling Racism” workbook, linked within the toolkit, similarly identifies “objectivity” — described as “the belief that there is such a thing as being objective or ‘neutral’” — as a characteristic of White supremacy. Instead Read More ›