“Quantitative Reasoning (QR)/Quantitative Literacy (QL) skills are essential for social justice,” Professor Esther Isabelle Wilder writes in the description for an online “Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education” (NICHE)...While I applaud the study of mathematics, I lament its targeted use in such a way. As I wrote several years ago:
According to Wilder, disparities in mathematical literacy are “linked to inequalities in our educational system,” and serve to “perpetuate socioeconomic disadvantages among minority and vulnerable populations,” something she said she has observed among her own students.
I assert here that a math class is not the place for social science. Math is a "hard science"--that is, it's replicable and predictive. I know that every time I add 3 + 4 the answer is going to be 7, no matter what. Social science is a "soft science"--different people, in different conditions, will act in different ways. Three plus four will always be seven. This attempt to politicize the math classroom, and to politicize with an unambiguous leftward bias, is another in a long string of attempts to water down the math curriculum so that "every student can succeed." What it really does is ensure that no student succeeds because no one learns any real math! The left doesn't believe in absolutes, it doesn't believe in standards, it doesn't believe in individuality. No one is better than anyone else, no one is more capable, we're all one big mass. This is why the left preaches about "group" identities (racial, ethnic, sexual orientation) while the right preaches about individuals. The left thinks we're all equal--hence the union mentality--the right says we all have an equal opportunity to pursue our potential. This is yet another big difference.The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Social science should not be injected into a math curriculum. Rather, math (as a hard science) should be injected into the social science curriculum (a soft science)--that would truly be teaching "across the curriculum". Don't bring your politics into math; rather, use math to justify (or disprove) your politics.
The problem has been correctly identified, but the cause and solutions promoted by lefties could not be more incorrect.