Gates-Funded Lessons Combat ‘White Supremacy’ in Mathematics

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a donor listed on a website detailing how to end alleged racism in mathematics.

The plan, called “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” is an “integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards,” according to its website. “The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit ‘strides’ serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.”

One of the “strides” in the plan includes “dismantling racism in mathematics instruction,” which focuses on how educators can “reflect on their own biases to transform their instructional practice.”

The document discusses white supremacy in the math classroom, such as when student are required to “show their work in standardized, prescribed ways.”

“Math teachers ask students to show work so that teachers know what students are thinking, but that can center the teacher’s need to understand rather than student learning,” the document explains. “Teachers should seek to understand individual student perspectives and focus on students showing their work in ways that help students learn how to process information.”

Another “stride” in the plan discusses “equitable math discussions,” which highlights the “diversity of students’ thinking, misconceptions, alternative solutions, and connections so any student, regardless of level, can contribute and gain equitable access to grade-level content.”

Some U.S. states are pushing revised mathematics standards to address so-called “inequities” in math classes.

American Faith reported that Oregon’s Department of Education is training teachers on how to disrupt “systemic inequities” in mathematics.

“Understanding the systemic inequities of schooling, how to disrupt them, and the nature of and strategies to enact ambitious math instruction are central to being successful with this reform,” a document on math teaching reads. “The modules offer a focus on equitable teaching practices and how to ensure success for all students, especially students of color, emergent bilingual students, and students from families of low income, all of whom have been historically underserved by schooling.”

The document is part of the “Oregon Math Project,” which emphasizes “engineering a more equitable math system.”