“Woke” culture in the Canadian province of Ontario influences the way even mathematics is taught. The new curriculum for the ninth-graders wants to “decolonize” mathematics and implement an individualistic approach to the subject. Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced plans to change the curriculum last year. In a report explaining the changes, the government said that “mathematics has so far served to normalize racism and marginalize non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledge.” However, this passage, along with similar ones, was later deleted.
“Mathematics is often positioned as an objective and pure discipline. However, the content and the context in which it is taught, the mathematicians who are celebrated, and the importance that is placed upon mathematics by society are subjective,” said another deleted paragraph in the report that stated the “vision and goals” of the updated curriculum.
The new curriculum for the ninth grade includes, among other things, decolonization and an anti-racist approach which should teach students about the “historical context and social construction” of mathematics.
“The Ontario Grade 9 mathematics curriculum emphasizes the need to recognize and challenge systems of power and privilege, both inside and outside the classroom, in order to eliminate systemic barriers and to serve students belonging to groups that have been historically disadvantaged and underserved in mathematics education,” stated the report explaining the changes.
In the original version, the new curriculum also required teachers to support interactions between mathematics and other subjects, as well as human rights. They should also create an “anti-racist and anti-discriminatory environment in education.” Teachers of mathematics are further encouraged to include culturally specific examples in their teaching, thus emphasizing the history, current reality, and culture of the indigenous peoples, the Inuit and Métis. The aim is to “infuse Indigenous knowledges and perspectives meaningfully and authentically” into mathematics.
However, anti-racist and similar paragraphs were quietly removed from the report on Tuesday night, The Ontario Sun noticed. The report on the updated curriculum emphasizes, among other things, that the teaching will focus on the real application of mathematics, including financial literacy.
Caitlin Clark, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said the new curriculum reflected a changing world.
“The world has changed, the economy has changed, and so should the curriculum that inspires and informs our students and leaders of tomorrow,” Clark said.
“We are taking action to ensure all children, especially those facing barriers to success, have meaningful pathways to quality learning, graduation, access to post-secondary education and good-paying jobs,” she added.
Title image: Noa Bashuk uses a tablet to follow along with her teacher in an eighth grade Spanish class at Autrey Mill Middle School in Johns Creek, Ga. on Thursday, May 9, 2013. The school is part of a pilot project launched this spring by Amplify, News Corp.’s education technology company, which has tablets in the hands of some 2,500 students at 12 schools across the country. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)