Oregon Education Department: Asking Students to 'Show Their Work' Is White Supremacy
Dept giving training program to help teachers 'develop an anti-racist math practice'
The Oregon Education Department is instructing schools to inform teachers that asking students to "show their work" in math class is a form of "white supremacy."
An email sent out by the department requests that Oregon teachers enroll in a course called “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction.”
The course comes with an 82-page instructional guide that highlights the ways in which white supremacy is supposedly perpetuated in math class.
“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the guide claims.
“Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”
The guide also offers a year-long framework for “deconstructing racism in mathematics.”
The course calls for “visibilizing [sic] the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture with respect to math.”
Examples of classroom actions that allegedly perpetuate white supremacy include asking students to show their work, focusing on getting the right answer, tracking student success, and grading students.
The guide claims that asking students to show their work is “a crutch” for teachers to understand what students are thinking.
This is considered white supremacy because it allegedly reinforces “paternalism” and “worship of the written word.”
Worship of the written word is an alleged foundation of white supremacy culture, which reinforces documentation and writing skills.
Math classes that focus on helping students get the right answer are also a form of perpetuating white supremacy.
The guide claims that calling answers “right and wrong” perpetuates objectivity, which is considered a tenet of white culture, according to The Epoch Times.
“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the guide reads.
“Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity.”
Teachers are also expected to learn to “distinguish between a mistake and a misunderstanding” because “white supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when addressing mistakes,” according to the toolkit.
The toolkit links to a workbook titled “Dismantling Racism” for reference.
The workbook similarly identifies the belief in objectivity as a characteristic of white supremacy, claiming that it is racist to believe there is such a thing as being objective or neutral, and that one should “assume that everybody has a valid point.”
It’s unclear to what extent teachers are expected to incorporate the workbook into their teaching.
One section of the workbook claims that “only white people can be racist in our society because only white people as a group have that power.”
The newsletter gained media attention amid a heated debate over critical race theory (CRT) and its role in America’s social and cultural institutions.
An outgrowth of the European Marxist school of critical theory, the CRT labels the very foundations of the American system, such as rationalism, constitutional law, and legal reasoning, as tools of racial oppression.
Last year, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is part of the taxpayer-funded Smithsonian Institute, came under fire because of a display about “whiteness.”
The museum suggested that valuing things such as “the nuclear family,” “objective, rational, linear thinking,” and “rigid time schedule” are manifestations of the alleged white culture.