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THE ‘SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS’

Father, We pray for your protection over our students, not just in mathematics but all disciplines. We ask for the parents of students in Virginia to have school choice as a way to increase equity in their education system.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recently announced a new Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI) program that has garnered national attention for good reason. A deep dive into this initiative revealed rotten roots that will surely bear rotten fruit. Lest you think it doesn’t apply to you–it is part of a greater plan reaching across the states–23 states are in various stages of approval.

The Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI) website is a maze of hollow-sounding educational talk with not a lot of solid information about any details of what the new program entails. It is designed to combat disparities in educational outcomes between racial and ethnic minorities. With the new program, all students would follow the same math curriculum through the 10th grade. Students will have some choices at the 11th, and 12th-grade level but not the customary advanced placement classes.

Parents throughout the state realize the dangers of the new program and are concerned as mathematics has long been one of the avenues where students who take advanced mathematics could distinguish themselves on entry-level applications to elite colleges. Democratic Virginia state Senator J. Chapman Peterson expressed concern over the dilution of learning caused by the change in the math curriculum and that this mathematics pilot program will lower education standards generally.

Deep pockets, deep state

One thing is for sure; the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative has reached into the deep, deep state to redesign their math program within the next five years. Pathways is a program initiated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, designed to accommodate the Gates Foundation goal to dramatically improve student outcomes and ensure that race, ethnicity, and income are not predictors of postsecondary success. Initial Pathways websites (some are now deleted) credit the Gates Foundation with a donation of $140 million for Pathways’ projects. Those projects are now showing up in new mathematics curriculum like this one in Virginia and across the U.S. Also contributing to the project is the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, a progressive think tank and innovative educational center that produced a resource paper for the VMPI project. The Dana Center has also received substantial donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The real reason behind the change

The real reason behind the drastic curriculum change is revealed in the website’s  Additional Resources list. A position paper prepared by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and TODOS: Mathematics for ALL gives insight into the racial disparity focus the new math program desires to push in mathematics classes. The paper titled. Mathematics Education Through the Lens of Social Justice: Acknowledgment, Actions, and Accountability list three components needed for a just, equitable, and sustainable system of mathematics education for all children.

They are:

  1. An acknowledgment of the unjust system of mathematics education, its legacy in segregation and other forms of institutional systems of oppression, and the hard work needed to change it.
  2. The actions taken must be driven by commitments to re-frame, re-conceptualize, intervene, and transform mathematics education policies and practices that do not serve to promote fair and equitable mathematics teaching and learning.
  3. And there must be professional accountability to ensure these changes are made and sustained.

The VDOE has approved the program at the administrative level. According to Shannon Ellis, K-12 Mathematics Supervisor of Education of Arlington Public Schools, another 23 states may not be far behind adopting the same program as the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative.

In a letter sent to the Virginia Secretary of Education, Senator J. Chapman Peterson asked for a plain explanation of the program without using socio-political jargon instead of simply stating what subject will be taught and when. A website video featuring various teachers and administrators giving a scripted description of VMPI was filled with socio-political jargon giving the listener very little information. One speaker calls VMPI a common mathematical experience. Another person states the redesign of mathematics was required because students now need skills in citizenship, creative thinking, and community collaboration.

It’s not unusual to revamp a math curriculum, adding new material, teaching ideas, or introducing new concepts. It is unusual to write a curriculum that purposely dumbs down students. The Virginia Pathways to Mathematics Initiative is about creating classroom instruction where the primary focuses are racial issues and social injustice.

Kim Putens, a parent of a high schooler in Fairfax County and a University of Virginia undergraduate, urged Virginia to examine school choice to increase equity in the education system. Why is school choice routinely fought by Democratic Party leaders? Another Virginia parent described the new program this way, “It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations. How about we give a hand up to strugglers rather than hold back our high achievers?”

 What do you think? Share in the comments . . . 

About the Author: Nancy Huff is an educator with a mission to equip believers to pray strategically for the Cultural Mountain of Education. She has authored Taking the Mountain of Education: A Strategic Prayer Guide to Transform America’s Schools. She leads prayer groups to pray at key educational locations across the US. Currently, Nancy serves as the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network (HAPN) Lead Prayer Coordinator for the Mountain of Education. For additional information go to: https://takingthemountainofeducation.com/author/nancyahuff/ (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)

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14 Replies to “THE ‘SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS’”

  1. The “Social Justice Program” has nothing to do with math, or any other program in our schools!! It is an ideology, and it is evil, it is not math! The reason schools, teachers (not all) are not saying ,no way to this, is MONEY AND MARXIST AGENDA. It is Marxism and it is wrong. I wonder when parents are going to start saying, STOP, to this? Parents CAN make the difference, if they will. Silence and going along to get along is destroying our country!
    Anytime you see Bill and Melinda Gates or George Soros involved in anything, run from it! It will never be for “our good.”

    Amen! 6
  2. I am a retired mathematics teacher. I started teaching in 1970, earned a masters degree in 1975, and I retired in 2014 – that’s 44 years of teaching. During most of my career I taught mathematics in grades 7-12, and a minimum of two years of high school mathematics was required for graduation. Most students studied from the same mathematics courses in 7th and 8th grades, but a few were in Algebra I as 8th grade students, putting them in position to take more advanced classes in 10th-12th grades. The majority took Algebra I in 9th grade while some studied General Math. Most of my 10th grade students were in Geometry class, and Basic Algebra was also offered. Many students opted out of math after two years. One-third to one-half of the students then studied Algebra II. The classes that I taught to juniors and seniors were: Trigonometry, College Algebra, and Calculus I. Students had the option of taking College Algebra and/or Calculus I for college credit. The K-12 curriculum changed to some degree a few times during my career. I especially remember having to learn a new way of teaching mathematics when the New Math came in. Then, during the last few years of my career, Common Core invaded the school curriculum. To my way of thinking, the ease of accomplishing the required mathematics skills was more difficult and time-consuming for the students. Speaking of “dilution of learning,” the Pathways program, if implemented in the mathematics curriculum will certainly result in less-prepared students as they start their post-high school education. I agree completely with Virginia State Senator J. Chapman Peterson that the Pathways curriculum for mathematics will cause a “dilution of learning caused by the change in the math curriculum and that this mathematics pilot program will lower education standards generally.” It is obvious to me that none of my former students would be taking classes in Trigonometry, College Algebra, or Calculus I if they had been in a school using the Pathways mathematics curriculum, and they would not have had the opportunity to obtain college credit by taking more advanced courses. I consider that a travesty, and a waste of perhaps one-fourth of the students having the opportunity to succeed in more advanced high school mathematics courses.

    Amen! 11
  3. The Social Justice movement, critical race theory, intersectionality, are blatantly racist and evil ideologies. They must be stopped in its tracks now or this country is doomed.

    Amen! 11
  4. The soft bigotry of low expectations is a marvelous way of expressing the soul of bigotry. Seeing the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘Stand and deliver’ are excellent ways of finding those that are gifted with the logic of math. Seeing that soft bigotry played out in every niche of our lives, smothering the gifted, something like a participation trophy. Everyone knows it’s uselessness. It makes me angry to see those such as Gates try to placate his billions with his soft bigotry. I pray for him and several other rich that our LORD will show them HIS design to love their neighbors is not to bring societies level down to the ungifted. Spell-check doesn’t understand that word but since I am one, I stand by it. That Jesus is the answer, not their twisted attempts to solve the ravages of sin and those failing outside the TALENT our LORD has blessed them with!

    Amen! 16
  5. I’m a retired teacher who went through numerous “new method” workshops. but we’ve been teaching kids for centuries. I say just let good teachers teach, and quit using our kids as cultural Guinea pigs.

    Amen! 26
  6. Dear God, I pray for the protection of our children at school and pray that parents of school children have school choice as a way to increase equality in the education system. I also pray that parents utilize discernment and wisdom about their children’s education and to get more involved and make their voices heard. In Jesus name, amen.

    Amen! 38
  7. This is totally wrong. Both of my daughters started advanced math in 2nd grade and went through high school. They were prepared for college and even had some of their college math taken care of in HS. They learned skills on how to do math problems a faster way without using a calculator.

    Amen! 22
  8. As a mathematician and a math professor, I am outraged by this “crap” that passes for education in this country.
    I had the opportunity to take AP Calculus in high school, and tested into Calc 3 as a college freshman. I had classmates who started Algebra in 8th grade and made it to Calc 3 as HS seniors!

    Now as a college professor,I mostly teach remedial math (in Florida public schools, you can’t require this, they have to be let into college level math whether they are ready or not). Once a year I get a small group of pre-med students who have made it to Calculus level.
    Everything I teach in college, I learned in High School, BECAUSE I COULD! Nearly every student that comes into our college takes a placement test for BASIC MATH, and 90% of them fail the test and must take the Basic Math course. We are talking fractions & decimals, stuff that is usually assigned to elementary school kids. If this is the best we can do with the current sistem, I shudder to think what will come of the Virginia plan.

  9. It is hard for me to understand how a program which takes away personnel accountability and hard work will prevent a child from learning and achieving an education and career in life. I was a very average learner in school. Mathematics and Science were very difficult. It was because I lived in a home environment that provided a quiet atmosphere to study, my parents taught us that after dinner it was time to work on ones studies. I struggled with my math over the years, but with discipline, hard work I was able to maintain average grades and became a nurse for over 50 years. The discipline of study, the attitude one develops in persevering is a trait that takes one into a career with a good work ethic. There will always be some with better grades who don’t have to apply themselves, but the life lessons learned with hard work is priceless. A lazy attitude or an attitude that one owes me my place in life will show in the kind of character an individual has. There are so many life lessons learned with hard work as we travel through life and I have taken those lessons and God has used them to form a dependent life on Him. I pray that our young people can use the life lessons we gain with discipline, perseverance and just hard work. Do we have to gain knowledge with ease and having lower expectation? Maybe there are life lessons we are robbing our children from learning when they may have to work at what they learn.

    Amen! 29
  10. WHAT DO I THINk? IM OUTRAGED!! THIS IS COMMUNISM! I HELP TUTOR LOW INCOME. HISPANIC STUDENTS IN VIRGINIA AND THEY LOVE MATH. THIS WOULD RESTRICT THEM, NOTHING FAIR ABOUT THAT

    Amen! 44
    1. The last comment says it’s all. Beautiful
      Let’s demoralize our children further by telling them their elected officials don’t think they are smart enough or worth the effort to teach
      Anyone see a pattern here?

      Know what is done with people in other countries?

      The dummying down of America
      Smarts kids with no place for their minds to go will be led by it…wherever that may be

      Amen! 12
  11. First of all, ANYTHING that Bill and Melinda Gates either support or supply needs to be a matter of deep prayer! Mathematics is a neutral subject that should not have race attached to it. This is one more attempt to CONTROL American childrens’ minds. FATHER GOD help us to recognize EVERY tactic of satan against YOUR people and YOUR Church. Give us strong discernment to KNOW the enemy and his minions. Let parents all over America take back control of their school districts and the teaching of children or let them pull their children out of government schools for home schooling or private/Christian schooling in the Name of JESUS! “Let this mind be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS.” FATHER GOD please give us YOUR Mind and order our steps and direct our path in every area in the MIGHTY Name of JESUS! Amen

    Amen! 54

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