Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Problem Has Been Correctly Identified, But The Cause Has Not

The City University of New York is offering a math course targeting SJWs.
“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)...

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.
While I applaud the study of mathematics, I lament its targeted use in such a way.  As I wrote several years ago:
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.

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 more things change, the more they stay the same.

The problem has been correctly identified, but the cause and solutions promoted by lefties could not be more incorrect.


lgm said...

So, Common Core isn't working for her students. Surprise, surprise!

Ellen K said...

You might be interested in this story: http://nyp.st/2tW8cIW
It echoes many of the concerns I have expressed on how our student populations have changed.
Here's a couple of quotes:

“They’re so used to being able to filter themselves before they post something online that they get stuck in a kind of real-life stage fright,” Launerts said.

“I’ve spoken to teenage girls who are more frightened of eating in public than putting a provocative picture of themselves online. That’s so frightening to me.”

It has long been noted that younger generations want it all — and they want it now. “The idea of paying their dues by working hard to demonstrate their worth before they’re given significant tasks is likely to be resisted by millennials,” the UC paper noted. They seek key roles in significant projects soon after their organizational entry … co-workers see them as overly confident and inappropriately demanding, asking ‘who do you think they are?’”

And by many indications, they are skilled in the theory of their respective professions. Rather than their ambition being an issue, it’s their inability to “walk the walk” when they climb the corporate ladder, Renneisen said.“They want to skip the entry level, junior roles and go into middle management and the like, but they lack the skills needed when they get there,” she said.

By the way, I am no longer teaching AP Studio because I wanted students to have a variety of skills so that they would be a more desirable hire. When sitting in a parent teacher meeting and expressing how, especially in the arts, paying ones dues was a way of growing, the parents exploded over the idea that their darlings would be expected to start anywhere except the top. So there you go.