Larry Summers is a popularly known Harvard economist who recently said that the “woke” anti-racist math curriculum being pressed on American schools is a threat to our national security.
A lifelong Democrat who chaired the National Economic Council for President Obama and served as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, Summers published a letter on Monday through the nonprofit group K12 math matters that was signed by nearly 600 teachers and academics condemning recent initiatives in the country’s K-12 schools promoting social justice math teaching.
The letter says that recently proposed changes deemphasize introductory math courses like algebra and geometry and restrict advanced math classes to “reduce achievement gaps.” Summers noted that traditional advanced math courses are a national security and economic imperative.”
He added that China’s math instructional standards are not continually “eroded by social justice warriors.” He criticized the people pushing dumbed down mathematics in America as a group who cannot themselves “define exponential growth or solve quadratic equations.”
Some modern education “reformers” are working to remove what they believe are “racist practices” from math instruction, like showing work and coming to a single objectively correct answer for problems. Democratic donors, notably including teachers’ unions, have been instrumental in promoting the new “woke” instructional trends in math teaching.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation financially supported the nonprofit Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction which promotes a national math curriculum that instructs teachers to study how math as a discipline is “used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.”
The open letter published by Summers says that the approach being promoted is misguided and diminishes access to basic skills needed for upward social mobility. It says that current trends will cause “lasting damage to STEM education” nationwide and only worsen inequality by restricting that access.
Adrian Mims, CEO of The Calculus Project Inc., signed the letter and said that schools should be focusing on elevating more students into advanced math courses instead of “lowering the ceiling.”
The letter points out that making public education more focused on “social justice” will only increase their disadvantages compared to private schools.