The Oregon Department of Education is promoting an online course that claims math is racist because it requires a correct answer.

The class, called “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” describes itself as “an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students” that provides “opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice.”

“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the guide states. “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.”

First reported by Campus Reform,  the“white supremacy culture” cited by the document include a focus on “getting the ‘right’ answer” and requiring students to show their work.

Campus Reform notes that the authors of the program state that “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

The program also instructs teachers to “Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers” so that students can come up with “at least two answers” in order to “challenge standardized test questions…”

“Often the emphasis is placed on learning math in the ‘real world,’” the program guide says, “as if our classrooms are not a part of the real world. This reinforces notions of either/or thinking because math is only seen as useful when it is in a particular context. However, this can result in using mathematics to uphold capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world.”

Read the full report here.

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