Thursday, April 22, 2021

Briefly Noted: Is 'Equity' A Code Word In VA Schools?

Here's the story:

Virginia moving to eliminate all accelerated math courses before 11th grade as part of equity-focused plan

Is it just me, or does anyone else suspect that this is just a way of slowing down Asians--in the name of 'equity' for those students who are less 'focused' in school? Loudon county has lots of smart, ambitious Asians and, traditionally, this class of immigrants see excellence in math and science as a way to get ahead in America.

On VDOE's website, the state features an infographic that indicates VMPI would require "concepts" courses for each grade level. It states various goals like "[i]mprove equity in mathematics learning opportunities," "[e]mpower students to be active participants in a quantitative world," and "[i]dentify K-12 mathematics pathways that support future success."

During a webinar posted on YouTube in December, a member of the "essential concepts" committee claimed that the new framework would exclude traditional classes like Algebra 1 and Geometry.

Committee member Ian Shenk, who focused on grades 8-10, said: "Let me be totally clear, we are talking about taking Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 – those three courses that we've known and loved ... and removing them from our high school mathematics program, replacing them with essential concepts for grade eight, nine, and 10."

He added that the concepts courses wouldn't eliminate algebraic ideas but rather interweave multiple strands of mathematics throughout the courses. Those included data analysis, mathematical modeling, functions and algebra, spatial reasoning and probability.

The changes were just the latest of many to prompt concern from parents in the state, which has seen in-fighting over controversial ideas surrounding equity and race.

The educrats say this will lead to "deeper learning". Not all parents are buying it:

A Loudoun parent who spoke on the condition of anonymity worried that the changes would "lower standards for all students in the name of equity."


Ian Prior, a Loudoun parent and former Trump administration official, similarly panned the move as a way to "stifle advancement for gifted students and set them back as they prepare for advanced mathematics in college. This is critical race theory in action and parents should be outraged." 


Do Dems really believe Asian parents will be fooled by the blather about White Supremacy and buy into dumbed down education? Will Asians make the move to private schools?


  1. Could be about slowing advancement, could be about dumbing it all down by again lowering the standard, could be about ending the "gap" as they say...

    Who would have thought the day would come where we are removing the chance for a even ONE child that could excell at something? 🙄

    Only in Merica!

  2. The bigotry of low expectations in action once again.


  3. @ this point if you send a child to a Govt school - “public school” being a intensional, typical, mis-direct euphemism - you’re guilty of & facilitating in child abuse.


  4. Uhmmm ... I thought the new math was supposed to replace rote learning of tables with the learning of concepts needed for algebra.

    Nevermind those concepts mean nothing when you can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide.

  5. This is just criminal. It's even worse than teaching ethno-mathematics.

    Separately, do people realize that those who insist on the salience of race, and who attribute negative traits or inclinations to whites, are promoting essentialism, which is a racist position? Essentialism effectively holds that an individual's race necessarily entails that that individual embodies and manifests a host of characteristics--personality characteristics, attitudes, behavioral and cognitive tendencies, etc., which necessarily characterize or define that person. Rather than engage with someone as an individual, the essentialist sees the person through the lens of the individual's race and infers a set of characteristics and traits that necessarily derive from that.

    There are many damning critiques of CRT. By embracing CRT, academia is abandoning any pretense of objectivity, "science," "logic," or rationality.

    1. Race is hard to define, but racism is an easy label to use as a weapon. So ethnicity is replacing race as a national obsession but is hardly easier to define objectively. We are taking issues that leftist academic love to discuss and argue about in journals and just expect K-1 teachers to apply them in their classrooms. If the teachers can't successfully teach the basics, this certainly isn't the solution.

    2. Actually, I think the 'essentialism' goes even further, since it generally equates the characteristics with a skin color or eye shape or something, not even "race." Sawadika is correct about defining race- to a pure biologist, skin color is not even a meaningful genetic component and doesn't really have any bearing on race from a scientific pov. I hate to use 'scientific' any more, since so many use it in the "follow the science" slogans...haha

  6. I always had a problem learning math in school, the way the elementary teachers taught it, and my Dad told me just to learn it on my own! As he said, you just have to be able to put the correct answer down on the tests, and there are many ways to do it. Served me well, although when I had good math teachers I really enjoyed them.

    When people say they're not good in math, I've told them don't think of it as math, it's really just thinking! Learn how to think well, and math follows naturally. Not teaching these 'thinking skills' at a high level is very bad for society, although bright kids can still learn it- nowadays, probably on youtube or tiktok!

    One of my daughters taught at a STEM school some years ago, and she said all the Asian parents showed up at all the meetings, and almost all of them wanted recommendations for tutors. With that attitude, this will widen the gaps between them and others who aren't into tutors! haha

    1. I like your comment that learning math is just about learning to think. I don't see that emphasized in these new guidelines, which are really about forcing students to think in a certain way. It is also stifling the creativity and agency of teachers.

  7. It's much easier to keep everyone ignorant than it is to educate everyone; it's tough to believe that our educators will enforce this as a policy.


  8. "Will Asians make the move to private schools?"
    Will Asians start voting overwhelmingly for conservatives?

    1. Reexamine your assumptions. Who says asian voters do not already vote conservative?

      -Altimeter or Yards

    2. Pollsters, and election demographic results. However, Trump made inroads there, although as importantly was probably the revelation of blatant anti-Asian discrimination by liberal colleges.

  9. Is there some new distinction between equity and equality about which I am unaware?

    1. Equity basically means 'fairness', while equality means equal. They're not the same thing.

    2. I know that. I worded my satirical question poorly.

    3. The visual graphic used to illustrate the difference in the numerous ed webinars I have been on show the difference as Equality means that the boxes students are standing on are the same height so some of the shorter students still cannot see over the fence and watch the sporting game.

      Equity is different heights of boxes so that everyone is at the same ultimate height and now ALL can see equally over the fence.

      Equity equals more resources to those deemed to have Adverse Childhood Experiences abbreviated as ACEs in developmental literature.

    4. Ultimately what Virginia is doing is laid out in this link that came from the controversial National Council of Teachers of Mathematics from last year

      Deeper Learning is a concept-oriented focus on guiding the student's perceptions in their everyday experiences in terms of both what gets noticed or ignored, as well as the interpretation of what those experiences mean. The Hewlett Foundation financed this initiative and has said it is part of their broader Initiative involving restructuring political, social, and economic systems. The Law and Political Economy movement in law schools grounded explicitly in Marxism is part of this as is a push called Fairer Tomorrow. It also pushes Economic Departments in universities towards the conception of a Moral Economy.

      Equity matters to all these visions and they are all ultimately concept-based rather than the historic vision towards the transmission of knowledge.

    5. This is a very nice visual and typical of the educational literature. But is it a false analogy. Education is nothing like standing on boxes to look at a ballgame, and the ethnic studies guidelines are nothing like this. This is just what I mean by people taking the abstract discussion on academic journals and expecting K-12 teachers to apply them to ethnic studies. It is a simplification that suits their purpose. Don't you think?

    6. Most of this is some variation on the theme of "math for teachers" rather than for students. It's math the way a teacher enjoys, not the way kids actually learn it. It's been going on since the New Math. What's changed in the meantime is the type of people who become teachers, as the Ed programs progressively weed out the normals. Now the nominal math teachers prefer to do cultural marxism.

    7. The link from NCTM is again typical educator-speak from graduate schools of education. I agree that our schools are turning out leftist leaning teachers. I also think that teaching is so difficult that teacher have to rely on the guidelines to help them, guidelines that are written by leftist academics. And as the link shows, the thinking behind them is very abstract and idealistic and something that looks different when put into practice.

    8. For example, to say it should be "concept-based" rather than the "transmission of knowledge" reflects ideology, just as highlighting equity over equality does.

    9. Deeper Learning is a concept-oriented focus on guiding the student's perceptions in their everyday experiences in terms of both what gets noticed or ignored, as well as the interpretation of what those experiences mean.

      This is what troubles me about it. They guide students to see the concepts they want them to see instead of teaching them facts. That there are no "facts" is typical post-structuralism.

  10. OT but noteworthy...

    The Maricopa county audit that has been bouncing around for months with the Maricopa county election board suing the Arizona Senate to stop audit from happening.

    A tidbit I just picked up today via Trump's attorney on The War Room with Seve Bannon.

    Boris Epshteyn: “The expectation is that this will fail, it will not succeed. You never know.” “These arguments [of Democrat Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat of the five-person Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the Arizona Democratic Party] are weak.”

    Wait... What?

    I think I have seen 200+ headlines and read dozens of articles about this in the past 5 months. It's been "democrats, democrats, democrats" on this subject. Turns out it a REPUBLICAN majority board with ONE SINGLE DEMOCRAT doing this?

    It isn't democrats controlling this fiasco, it's the Republican Party.

    Which raises the question, is OUR (right) entire media just as corrupted as the left? There is no way everyone has missed this all of this time.

    Is anyone still doubting that there are no parties besides the Uniparty?🙄

    1. That's news to me, too, but if you think about it it isn't really surprising that local party office holders would be very much opposed to a populist movement. And, in fact, we've seen the same or similar shenanigans going on in other state and local situations--MI, GA, NV, etc.

    2. Just in--the Dems refused to post a $1 million dollar bond, so the audit will continue. Which tends to confirm Epshteyn's expectation.

  11. I think what's astounding me is the medias failure to correctly point out who's actually doing these things. (In any/all cases) this is one of the best (or easiest to define) productions of propaganda I've seen in a while!

    I was hopeful on this audit, I'm far less comfortable now knowing it's been mostly a R vs R sideshow sponsored by dems with the Right's media providing the special effects. 😒

    The only blessing I can find is the blue vs red pen issue that was resolved.

  12. Re Maricopa audit

    I watched Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro (attempt to) discuss the audit yesterday:

    I say, 'attempt' to, because there was a lot of talking over and interrupting. (And, by the way, what's with Bannon's hair?)

    But, notwithstanding the interruptions, Navarro brought a chart with him that shows that Biden's margin of victory in AZ was about 10,000 votes, and there are a couple of hundred thousand suspect votes which will be reviewed in the audit.

    Bannon is suggesting that it is not unlikely that the result will be 'invalidated', whatever that means in the case of an election which has already been certified. Observers are suggesting that if AZ is shown to have been impacted by fraud, the likelihood of showing fraud (if an audit were conducted) in other swing states is even greater. Navarro showed a chart for Georgia with numerous categories of irregular votes.

    Bannon opened with a clip of Rachel Maddow the other night acknowledging that the audit will be based on the "actual ballots" and therefore be "laughable", a "fantasy", a "conspiracy theory", "crazy", a "lie", "dangerous", and "ridiculous". Bannon concludes that, based on Maddow's hyperbole, the Dems are...really worried.

    Here's a link to the Maddow clip:

  13. There is a great cartoon on today illustrating equity/equality that is closer to capturing what's actually happening:
    The reality is that the equity curriculum as envisioned is not going to raise stagnant achievement levels for some but rather lower it for everyone. Although the issues are complex, a good exercise in critical thinking would be to compare the two images and discuss the differences, rather than simply accept and use one as propaganda, which is what they do.