Canada’s new 9th grade curriculum claims that math has historically been used to ‘normalize racism’

Ontario, Canada’s new grade 9 curriculum claims to address the historical use of math to “normalize racism” and “marginalization of non-Eurocentric knowledge.”

The changes to the math curriculum announced last year by Education Minister Stephen Lecce will include a ‘subjective’ and ‘decolonial’ approach to mathematics, according to documents posted on the ministry’s website. “Mathematics is often positioned as an objective and pure discipline,” reads a section of an online brief highlighting the ‘vision and goals’ of the updated curriculum. “However, the content and the context in which it is taught, the mathematicians who are celebrated, and the importance that is placed upon mathematics by society are subjective.”

Math, the website continues, has been “used to normalize racism and marginalization of non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledges,” and explains that taking a “decolonial” and “anti-racist approach” to teaching math will outline its “historical roots and social constructions” to students.

“The Ontario Grade 9 mathematics curriculum emphasizes the need to recognize and challenge systems of power and privilege, both inside and outside the classroom, in order to eliminate systemic barriers and to serve students belonging to groups that have been historically disadvantaged and underserved in mathematics education,” the brief continues.

Minister Lecce previously announced that the new curriculum will bring online learning to an end, he said it created learning barriers for radicalized and historically marginalized groups. Teachers will be required to promote human rights and cross-curricular learning to create “anti-racist, anti-discriminatory learning environments.”

Teachers are also encouraged to include culturally specific examples that highlight First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, histories and current realities to “infuse Indigenous knowledges and perspectives meaningfully and authentically” into the math curriculum. Caitlin Clark, the spokesperson for Minister Lecce’s office, said the new curriculum reflects a changing world.

“The world has changed, the economy has changed and so should the curriculum that inspires and informs our students and leaders of tomorrow,” said Clark. “That’s why our government was proud to launch a new curriculum that is focused on the job market, gives young people skills they can apply to their lives, to their households, to their personal budgeting, with an emphasis on financial literacy.” “We are taking action to ensure all children, especially those facing barriers to success, have meaningful pathways to quality learning, graduation, access to post-secondary education and good-paying jobs.” Clark continued.



Leave a Reply