The View From 1776

Moral Relativity in Mathematics

A form of relativity that would have astonished Einstein.

MaggiesFarm has a link to a Wall Street Journal article appearing in the Opinion Journal section.  Scroll down to “The New New Math.”

Diane Ravitch describes what the critical studies theorists are doing to make mathematics education into a political action platform.  Multi-cultural moral relativity and deliberate distortion is no surprise in the social sciences.  But who would have expected basic mathematics to become a tool to inculcate socialism in impressionable young students?

A sample from Professor Ravitch’s article: 

“Now mathematics is being nudged into a specifically political direction by educators who call themselves “critical theorists.” They advocate using mathematics as a tool to advance social justice. Social justice math relies on political and cultural relevance to guide math instruction. One of its precepts is “ethnomathematics,” that is, the belief that different cultures have evolved different ways of using mathematics, and that students will learn best if taught in the ways that relate to their ancestral culture. From this perspective, traditional mathematics—the mathematics taught in universities around the world—is the property of Western civilization and is inexorably linked with the values of the oppressors and conquerors. The culturally attuned teacher will learn about the counting system of the ancient Mayans, ancient Africans, Papua New Guineans and other “nonmainstream” cultures.”

Diane Ravitch was a professor at Columbia University Teachers College (the fountainhead of socialist educational theory in the United States) and at New York University, as well as serving as assistant secretary in charge of educational research in the U. S. Department of Education.  If you haven’t done so, read her book “Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms.”

The critical studies theorists to whom she refers have a philosophical outlook that is dedicated to destroying all of the Judeo-Christian and English political traditions that were the unwritten constitution of the United States in 1787.  According to the Critical Studies and Critical Theory website:

“Critical legal studies (CLS) is a theory that challenges and overturns accepted norms and standards in legal theory and practice. Proponents of this theory believe that logic and structure attributed to the law grow out of the power relationships of the society. The law exists to support the interests of the party or class that forms it and is merely a collection of beliefs and prejudices that legitimize the injustices of society. The wealthy and the powerful use the law as an instrument for oppression in order to maintain their place in hierarchy. The basic idea of CLS is that the law is politics and it is not neutral or value free. Many in the CLS movement want to overturn the hierarchical structures of domination in the modern society and many of them have focused on the law as a tool in achieving this goal…..

“Although CLS has been largely a U.S. movement, it was influenced to the great extent by European philosophers, such as nineteenth-century German social theorists Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Max Weber; Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt school of German social philosophy; the Italian marxist Antonio Gramsci; and poststructuralist French thinkers Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, representing respectively the fields of history and literary theory. CLS has borrowed heavily from Legal Realism; the school of legal thought that flourished in the 1920s and 1930s. Like CLS scholars, legal realists rebelled against accepted legal theories of the day and urged more attention to the social context of the law.”

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