Oregon state government promotes teacher program seeking to undo “racism in mathematics”

Recently, the state of Oregon’s Department of Education has been encouraging its teachers and educators to register for a course that supposedly is meant to teach them about the “toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture.”

The course is called “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction”. A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards. The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit ‘strides’ serve as “multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.” Each Webinar in all is around fifty minutes long and all of them are posted on Vimeo, they can be accessed for free via their website.

The Webinars consist of many underlying messages besides racism as well: “We cannot dismantle racism in a system that exploits people for private profit,” it stated. “If we want to dismantle racism, then we must build a movement for economic justice” (MSN). Besides this, the course also states “This reinforces the idea that there is only one right way to do math. The history of mathematics, its colonization, and what is deemed as ‘acceptable’ knowledge is rich and complex, therefore, the way that mathematics is taught in the United States needs to be interrogated because it currently centers Western, Eurocentric ways of processing and knowing information. When students are required to learn in this way, they either have to unlearn their learned native traditions to meet teacher expectations, or they are deprived of learning math in their ancestral history. For teachers, teaching the way they learned also reinforces the right to comfort for teachers because to conform is easier than to challenge themselves to teach math differently” (MSN).




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