David Thompson
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March 24, 2014

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rjmadden

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, wants “social justice” shoehorned into primary school maths teaching.

I had no idea arithmetic was "too abstract" unless you teach kids to hate capitalism and distrust white people.

David

I had no idea arithmetic was “too abstract” unless you teach kids to hate capitalism and distrust white people.

And not misleading children with hugely tendentious and counterfactual claptrap would apparently be “immoral” and “bad for society.” They just know this, you see, being so enlightened. And besides, they already have the children. So waddayagonnadoo?

Greg

It is difficult to see how a marxist of the modern school can reconcile maths with justice. Dependant as it is on a strict ordinal hierarchy - the very antithesis of justice.

David

Greg,

I suppose the idea is to minimise the actual maths content. I mean, if a lesson is, say, an hour long and you shoehorn in twenty minutes of question-begging and Marxoid conspiracy theories, something else will have to go in order to make room. That’s how much they care.

Greg

So under marxism, everyone one who wants to can be a great mathematician. Damn that capatalism and its tedious KPIs.

BenSix

"What do you get if you divide 4 by 2, Timmy?"

"2?"

"No, Timmy, you get the divide and conquer tactics of the ruling class."

David

BenSix,

Well, quite. It’s hard to parody. It isn’t so much teaching as ideological molestation.

Nik White

The ideas contained in “Rethinking Mathematics” are based on the principles popularized by Paulo Freire

I hate that guy.

Still, to make up for it, this guy on the other hand is quite amusing or at least he is if you can manage to struggle on through to the maths lesson which starts about 01:19.

I'm still unclear - and not for the first time with regard to this kind of thing - whether or not this is a spoof or the real thing.

David

It may be improper to say it but teaching attracts some very damaged people. By which I mean, people who wish to inflict their personal demons on others, thereby damaging them, but who can’t really do that freely in the adult world. And so they target children and young teenagers, who are less likely to be well-informed or able to defend themselves. It’s a pattern we’ve seen before, more than once.

watcher

"Miller-Young said that she found this material offensive because she teaches about women’s “reproductive rights” and is pregnant."

Fair enough, so she can have an abortion if she wants because that is her right. Her "reproductive right" (even if the act of abortion -- if successful -- isn't actually very reproductive). Curious though why she was upset by the images of it? Did she think termination of the unborn was done with fairy dust and everything just disappears in a sweet smelling shower of petals? Has no one told those of the left that human matters can be bloody and messy? Perhaps not, because that is why so many Marxies like the idea of millions being killed by their 'socialist' heroes: those people didn't die, they just slipped away quietly in a glimmer of righteous dust.

Only the evil right brings blood and death, apparently.

sk60

So maths lessons should be about 'racism' and 'unfair mortgage lending practices of Big Banks'? And not giving mortgages to people who won't be able to pay them back is all about racism then? And nothing to do with –oh I don't know- basic maths.

Two And Two Is Anything

'"You want to talk about social justice?” Lewis asked her audience.'

To an audience of teachers, who may just have wanted to talk about teaching mathematics. Unlikely, but... However I can see maths is ripe for this revolution because you can count how many injustices you can find almost everywhere in the west.

Maybe all education should be simply about social justice. I can see lots of driving schools insisting to a learner that red, amber and green are not the only colours you see out on the street. It is possible too that when someone says to a youngster learning how to do something utterly useless like sawing wood or sewing fabric, using the words 'let me show you how to do that' really means 'put down that tool and let me talk to you about social justice as I insist you see it.'

I am excited by this because everyone will then be aware of how to do things properly, and this was where my education was clearly lacking in the old socially unjust days.

David

not giving mortgages to people who won't be able to pay them back is all about racism then? And nothing to do with –oh I don't know- basic maths.

And remember, Ms Lewis and Mr Peterson aren’t fringe figures within their profession. They’re the Teachers Union presidents of Chicago and Milwaukee - the chosen mouthpieces of their peers. And a few minutes with Google reveals Ms Lewis, who won her position with 80% of the vote, to be exactly the kind of creature you’d expect. An intellectually inadequate blowhard race hustler who opposes parental choice and merit-based pay, who struggles with basic economics and rages against anything that might diminish her union’s power to screw the taxpayer, who delights in striking, says Chicago “belongs to black people,” and who demands “respect” while denouncing almost any opposition as “racist,” either in intent or in effect.

David

Also, Christopher Snowden gives the Observer and its comedy economics a good kicking.

Henry

I was talking to a very bright and ridiculously pretty Muslim girl today who'd switched from one of the STEM sciences to African Studies. She was talking about how the new subject seems to do things ..er.. differently.

My own subject, long ago, was maths + a bit of physics. Though it seems Orwellian and paranoid, there does seem to be this concerted effort to undermine the rigorous sciences. Where science gets in the way of certain political movements, it is deemed that it is science that must give way - not the airy fairy theory that good science rubbishes.

One wonders whether/when the principles of rigorous mathematical proof and honest scientific modelling are going to be denigrated as leading to insufficiently ideologically correct conclusions.

Still I suppose one way of teaching that maths is important is to show a) what is has achieved and b) that some are trying to undermine it.

Anna

I suppose the idea is to minimise the actual maths content. I mean, if a lesson is, say, an hour long and you shoehorn in twenty minutes of question-begging and Marxoid conspiracy theories, something else will have to go in order to make room. That’s how much they care.

This.

David

This.

Amen, sister.

the wolf

An intellectually inadequate blowhard race hustler who opposes parental choice and merit-based pay, who struggles with basic economics and rages against anything that might diminish her union’s power to screw the taxpayer, who delights in striking, says Chicago “belongs to black people,” and who demands “respect” while denouncing almost any opposition as “racist,” either in intent or in effect.

Speaking as one of those taxpayers, that description hardly makes her unique among the political class around here. And although most people in my position will verbally complain about it, most will still end up voting for the same clown show every election.

matt

I agree that teaching attracts damaged people and looking at this based on evidence means that teachers unions are a highly efficient meritocracy where the "best" of the damaged and near-deranged rise to the uppermost positions of influence. It's not Irony, it's a coincidence! Behold the cream of the teachers union crop as embodied by Ms Lewis!

Karen M

I suppose the idea is to minimise the actual maths content.

For the children!
And all the incompetent teachers protected by the unions.

Spiny Norman

Roger Kimball roams the thought-corrected quarter of academia:

Just curious, does Mr Kimball sound like David Attenborough? 'Cause that's the voice I heard in my head while reading the following quote.

o_O

Connor

I had no idea arithmetic was “too abstract” unless you teach kids to hate capitalism and distrust white people.

People like Lewis and Peterson aren't really interested in teaching kids arithmetic. They want to teach them leftism.

David

Also, Peter Risdon takes a well-aimed pop at Owen Jones, “the Justin Bieber of the British left.”

D

I was just listening to Thomas Sowell's book about economic facts and fallacies, and the mortgage line reminded me of a story he found.

Some government agency in Philadelphia had researched mortgage lending in their city, and found that, when comparing white and black people in the same income brackets where most other factors were comparable, black people were rejected for mortgages 17% of the time to white people's 11%.

Of course, when you narrow things down that much you aren't talking about very many people. It turned out that only one bank was skewing the results, and caused all the extra rejections. That bank was owned by black people.

It's funny to think that the only reason one might be more inclined to give loans to one group of people versus another is hatred. Jewish comedians have made a living for a long time seeing the faults of their own group more clearly than others; this may have application in other fields as well.

dicentra

Though it seems Orwellian and paranoid

Or lately, it seems more like "Tuesday."

dicentra

One wonders whether/when the principles of rigorous mathematical proof and honest scientific modelling are going to be denigrated as leading to insufficiently ideologically correct conclusions.

When?

About 30 years ago:

Men have made science to be full of endnotes, dead-talk, lies and boredom. I will never thank Mary Daly enough for coining the word “academentia”. They are not interested in the truth, but interested in concocting fake evidence to support their lies and propaganda against women, to legitimise their totalitarian regime and political agenda of destroying the universe. In particular, Male science, as everything male, is modelled on the male ideal relationship to the world: men as god, who position themselves as external observers of life from the top, separate from life itself: life is viewed as underneath, as an object, a dead object, ripped from its environment and from the life that surrounds and sustains it. To be studied it is imprisoned, held captive, fragmented, cut up, penetrated, prodded, tortured in the most unimaginable ways. From this murder and torture they deduce “objective laws”.
This is not fringe thought in the universities but mainstream, at least in the Humanities. For the STEM version, see "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming."

Henry

Dicentra,

About 30 years ago

:) Yes people have been tentatively saying this sort of thing for a while, as if to see how much resistance they'd encounter. What they can get away with saying - they'll say.

My old favourite is this beauty, which I seldom fail to link to (thus perhaps increasing traffic to a slightly silly piece of writing):

Language is in itself phallocentric and, as a result, a tool of patriarchy. It is part of a Symbolic Order which forces us to view the world in terms of binaries (day/night, man/ woman, culture/nature, love/ hate) and as a result, artificially creates divides and a hierarchical mode of seeing

I wonder if any STEM scientists see their own work as being of less value when some pretentious prat says something like the above. I do hope not - to do science properly you have to believe in it, I think. Some, of course, react strongly to post-modernist stuff.

Radical Wind: I wonder if that blog will turn out to be a parody, so I never bother criticising it. The scenario I imagine is of this person actually signing in as someone else to make comments on their blog, then logging back in as admin to say "Good point! You're quite right".

Pitkin

Reading an article about anti-Semitism at U of Michigan, I stumbled upon this:

'A group of “Fat Justice” feminists said Thursday that former President Ronald Reagan “f*cked everything up” for fat people.'

Now I know that Dubya gets blamed for all known modern evils by progressives, but Reagan? In 2014?

http://freebeacon.com/feminists-say-reagan-screwed-fat-people-over/

dicentra

Language is in itself phallocentric

That was Accepted Gospel in the Humanities by the time the 1990s rolled around. Of COURSE it's phallic: LOOK AT THE PEN.

This was before home computing really took off. I wonder what gender a QWERTY keyboard is. Or a mouse. That spongy blue mouse control on some laptops in the middle of the keyboard is definitely feminine.

David Gillies

Is it absolutely necessary for Karen Lewis to look like Roz from Monsters, Inc.?

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110110005339/pixar/images/8/8b/Roz.jpg

Does her almost aggressive disdain for the norms of feminine pulchritude stem from her politics or explain them? And why is this a pattern we see so often?

David

Also, via dicentra, Kevin D Williamson on “antithought” and its practitioners:

Antithought is essential to the hopes of the so-called progressive movement (another perversion of language: the idea that a political tendency that seeks to impose 1930s-style central-planning policies, which have their intellectual roots in the government of Bismarck, is in anno Domini 2014 “progressive”).

RB

Dr. Miller-Young’s “areas of emphasis” are “black cultural studies, pornography and sex work.”

Just so we're clear – a professor who specializes in porn says she's "triggered" by "graphic images".

Great blog btw.

David

Also, Tim Worstall corrects the Observer’s Nick Cohen on “climate change deniers.”

David

Great blog btw.

Why, thank you. Do call again.

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