UPDATE: Mathematics organization apologizes for comments made about gender

At a DEI-oriented mathematics education conference previously reported by Campus Reform, one speaker stood out by arguing that boys are at a disadvantage in K-12 education.

However, the speaker’s comments on boys' underperformance and struggles in education prompted a public apology email from the host organization.

At a mathematics education conference previously reported by Campus Reform in which numerous scholars pushed for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), one speaker stood out by arguing that boys in particular are at a disadvantage in numerous ways in American K-12 education.

Campus Reform obtained exclusive audio of this presentation.

The conference was hosted at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel by the Psychology of Mathematics Education of North America (PME-NA).  

The speaker in question referenced the recent book “Of Boys and Men” by Richard Reeves—a scholar at the Brookings Institution. Quoting the book, the speaker said that “boys are falling behind in school because the educational system is structured in ways that puts them at a disadvantage.” 

In regards to gender, the speaker posed the question, “Given current evidence, should we not also reassure boys that they too belong [in STEM-related fields]?” 

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However, the speaker’s comments on boys’ underperformance and struggles in education prompted a public apology email from PME-NA. The email, written by Dr. Alyson E. Lischka of Middle Tennessee State University, was also obtained by Campus Reform

It states that the speaker’s presentation “did not exemplify appropriate scholarly inquiry and was counterproductive with respect to PME-NA’s goal of inclusion from the updated PME-NA equity statement, which includes ‘welcoming and making spaces for members of our community that have previously been othered.’” 

The email goes on to say that “the way that gender was addressed in the talk was harmful to members of our PME-NA community.” 

Signatories to the email also included Elizabeth Dyer, Jennifer Lovett, and Jeremy Strayer.

Campus Reform reached out to Dr. Lischka to find out what exactly about the speaker’s brief remarks on gender PME-NA found inappropriate but received no response. 

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Despite the speaker claiming that both boys and girls deserve to be reassured and included in STEM, the apology email concluded with, “We thank those in our community who chose to share their concerns and advocate for continued support of healing and growth toward a more inclusive and just vision.” 

The 45th annual conference is set to take place on Oct. 1-4 in 2023 and will be held in Reno, Nevada. 

Campus Reform reached out to every university, organization, and individual mentioned. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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