In an open letter, leading scientists and educators are expressing deep concern about the disastrous educational consequences that will be left by the implementation of ‘equitable math’ in U.S. K-12 schools, which posits the idea of equality and does not allow merit to be rewarded and talents to be developed.
The letter, which was so far signed by nearly 600 quantitative science professionals, highlights the recent reform of mathematics education “particularly the California Mathematics Framework (CMF)” and its “unintended consequences,” according to Breitbart.
“Such frameworks aim to reduce achievement gaps by limiting the availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers,” the scientists write, adding that “while such reforms superficially seem “successful” at reducing disparities at the high school level, they are merely “kicking the can” to college.”
“College students who need to spend their early years taking introductory math courses may require more time to graduate,” and they further posited that they may even be disadvantaged against students from private U.S. schools and international schools.
Moreover, the signatories view with concern “devaluing essential mathematical tools such as calculus and algebra in favor of seemingly more modern “data science.”
Data science involves the collection, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data using computer science, machine learning, and the creation of algorithms, while statisticians use mathematical models to quantify relationships between variables and outcomes and make predictions.
So while the scientists acknowledge that “the ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data is indeed transforming our society,” they say it is built on the foundations of algebra, calculus, and logical thinking, so “while these mathematical fields are centuries old,” they are crucial “for today’s grand challenges.”
The California Mathematics Framework based on ‘equitable mathematics’ “propose drastic changes based on scant and inconclusive evidence,” the undersigned mathematicians and scientists say, which subjects “the children of our largest state to such an experiment is the height of irresponsibility,” they said.
For such reasons, they call on national, state, and local authorities to engage science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and mathematics educators to allow them to participate in the development of elementary and secondary (K-12) curricula.
“While the US K-12 system has much to improve, the current trends will instead take us further back. Reducing access to advanced mathematics and elevating trendy but shallow courses over foundational skills would cause lasting damage to STEM education in the country,” the scientists and professional educators conclude in the letter.
In particular, three of the signatories, who are mathematical scholars addressed the issue of mathematics applied to ‘social justice’ and the catastrophic consequences it is bringing with respect to education, which is even contributing to diminishing the dominant position the U.S. had in several branches of science.
Percy Deift of New York University, Svetlana Jitomirskaya of the University of California, Irvine, and Sergiu Klainerman of Princeton University pointed out in an opinion column in August that the reforms that have taken place in American schools are degrading merit and the development of natural talent in pursuit of promoting ‘equity’.
“In fact, at many of our leading academic and research institutions, including the National Academies of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, scientific excellence is being supplanted by diversity as the determining factor for eligibility in regard to prizes and other distinctions.”
Noting also that several universities, including the University of California, are evaluating faculty candidates based on their commitment to “diversity metrics” rather than their knowledge and academic quality.