by Christopher Paslay
Using math class to push a political agenda is flat out wrong, and Corwin’s book, High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice, has no place in a high school math classroom.
Corwin Press, a professional development book publisher, is no longer interested in producing academic material designed to teach children how to think, rather, has set their sights on teaching students what to think. The company, which was established in 1990, has taken a hard left turn over the past five years, so much so that the publisher has abandoned any pretense of objectivity, and has openly embedded its political agenda into much of its material.
In January, they posted so-called “free resources to help educators process the Jan. 6th riot at the Capitol,” which provided links to agenda-driven activist groups like Black Lives Matter, whose aim was to indoctrinate school children in polarizing identity politics.
Now Corwin is promoting a new series of math textbooks aimed at indoctrinating high school students in radical leftist politics, textbooks that replace objective, linear math with socialist propaganda. A book titled High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice, is one such example.
The Introduction to the book, titled “Why is Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice Critical?”, states “Whether we talk about it or not, our students regularly experience the impacts of social privilege, power, and activism every day.” This introduction reveals the true motive of the book, which is first to indoctrinate teachers and students in progressive social justice activism, and to ingrain in them a willingness to accept socialism and the political agenda of the left.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I, titled “Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice,” provides a foundation for using math to promote activism, which focusses on so-called “equitable mathematics,” and helps teachers design lessons that will allow students to broach controversial topics and have difficult conversations. These chapters also help educators create activities that encourage students to investigate, understand, and reflect on social questions to “empower themselves into action.”
Part II, called “Social Justice Mathematics Lessons,” incorporates actual math into activities, but does so by structuring it around progressive causes and leftist political agenda. Chapter 6, for example, discusses border crossings, climate change, income inequality, and intersectionality and the wage gap, among other things. Chapter 7 delves into citizenship issues, policing and systemic racism, prison populations, and immigration. Chapter 8 touches on gerrymandering and food injustice.
The third and final part of the book, titled “Next Steps,” helps teachers spread the social justice mathematics message by designing lessons in their own classrooms, and by encouraging them to get active.
The book, which makes no bones about indoctrinating students in identity politics and a progressive socialist agenda, is completely inappropriate for a math classroom. Using it in a high school setting not only assumes parents are willing to exchange rigorous math for activism, but that these parents agree with the positions Corwin takes on the issues.
What if parents, after thinking critically on such topics, believe America’s borders should be secure, and that illegal immigration should be discouraged? What if parents, after educating themselves on both sides of the argument, believe climate change is cyclical, and not the man-made catastrophe it’s being made out to be? What if they believe income inequality has more to do with choices, priorities and family structure, and less to do with so-called systemic racism? What if parents believe all immigrants should come through legal ports of entry, and follow a lawful path to citizenship?
What if they support America’s police, and believe the idea of systemic racism by law enforcement is erroneous or overblown, and that prison populations are based on crime, and not implicit bias? What if parents, after critically analyzing all sides of the topic, felt these ways on the issues, and wanted to raise their children to think critically about such issues themselves?
The tragedy, of course, is that these children won’t learn how to think critically about any of this—not if they are using material from Corwin Press. Why? Because Corwin is more interested in teaching children what to think, not how to think.
Using math class to push a political agenda is flat out wrong, and Corwin’s book, High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice, has no place in a high school math classroom. Period.
The fact that Corwin is promoting such agenda-driven material, light on academic rigor and heavy on activism, should be concerning to all parents. The fact of the matter is, Corwin Press is no longer a publisher of objective, academic books. The company has gone full-blown woke, as is evidenced by their new “Deep Equity Consulting Service,” which preaches that the achievement gap, graduation rates, and disproportionate discipline outcomes are “symptomatic of institutional biases and norms that must be directly challenged through systemic, ongoing, and authentic work.”
By “authentic work” they mean indoctrinating students over educating them, and focusing on systems over people. In short, Corwin cares more about influencing politics than they do about actually teaching your kids academic skills, which should make every parent very concerned.