Campus Reform | 2+2=5? Bill Gates funnels $1 MILLION to push 'math is racist' narrative

2+2=5? Bill Gates funnels $1 MILLION to push 'math is racist' narrative

With $1 million of support from the Gates Foundation, universities and local governments are bringing “anti-racism” to mathematics.

The group says that a “focus on getting the ‘right’ answer” and state standards directing classroom instruction represent “white supremacy culture.”

The group suggests implementing “ethnomathematics” as an antidote.

With a $1 million check from the Gates Foundation, leading universities and local governments are building an effort to bring “anti-racism” efforts to mathematics.

A Pathway to Equitable Instruction exists to address “barriers to math equity” by offering “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.”

Among the group’s content developers are Ruth Basket, Mirna Maranda-Welsh, and Malane Morales-Van Hecke from the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Multilingual Academic Support Unit; David Chun, the Director of K-12 Mathematics at the Sacramento County Office of Education; and Mindy Shacklett, a Coordinator of Mathematics at the San Diego County Office of Education. Multiple professors from the University of California system and Loyola Marymount University also worked on the project.

[RELATED: Math association says math ‘inherently carries human biases,’ citing Critical Race Theory]

In its acknowledgments section — which lists the aforementioned universities and governments as “dedicated partners” — the project thanks the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its “generous financial support.”

Gates Foundation senior communications officer Josie Duckett McSpadden confirmed to Campus Reform that the nonprofit gave $1,000,000 to the group.

One of the group’s guides — entitled “Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction” — lists the “focus on getting the ‘right’ answer,” the emphasis on “real-world math,” state standards directing classroom instruction, and the sequential teaching of skills as “white supremacy culture.”

Accordingly, the guide endeavors to debunk several alleged signs of white supremacy in mathematics. For instance, the notion that “‘good’ math teaching is considered an antidote for mathematical inequity” among minority students is decried on the grounds that “either/or thinking” “allows the defensiveness of Western mathematics to prevail.”

In addressing the belief that state standards ought to direct classroom instruction, the guide suggests that teachers “unpack how the standards uphold white supremacy culture.”

[RELATED: Math education prof: 2+2 = 4 'trope' 'reeks of white supremacy patriarchy']

As an antidote to white supremacy culture, the guide suggests centering the classroom upon “ethnomathematics.”

Students may, for example, “recognize the ways that communities of color engage in mathematics and problem solving in their everyday lives” or “challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.” 

Teachers are likewise encouraged to “intentionally include mathematicians of color” in their instruction and “acknowledge the mathematical knowledge of students of color, even if it shows up unconventionally.”

Another guide — “Sustaining Equitable Practice” — asserts that “the relationship between instructional coach and teacher can be complicated and nuanced given the intersectionality of both participants’ identities.” 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft