Friday, April 28, 2006

Political litmus test for math teacher

A Chicago public school is seeking a math teacher who needs to have a "social justice background" (whatever that is) of all things to qualify. Political indoctrination at taxpayer expense.

Cluster/Area 04/25
School Name/Address Greater Lawndale / Little Village School for Social Justice
3021 S. Kostner
Chicago, IL 60623 (or GSR #37)
Grade or Subject Mathematics
Certificate Requirements (Type 09) 6-12 w/Mathematics Endorsement

Other Information: Progressive educators with social justice background. Must be willing to create alternative assessments and work collaboratively.
School uses IMP curriculum.

UPDATE: See Darren's analysis of social justice math in the Comment section.


NYC Educator said...

Come on, Instructivist. What do you have against being prepared?

You never know when your math teacher might be called upon to try a lawsuit.

Barry Garelick said...

Since IMP contains no math, and therefore requires no knowledge of it, this opens up the choice of background knowledge to just about anything. Apparently, this school wants to use the math classes to teach about social justice. They certainly aren't going to learn about math. Maybe the students can write essays about the injustice of not teaching students what they need to know.

Kevin Killion said...

I found more about this loony Chicago school (see below).

The article manages to establish early on that these people are from a planet in the Andromeda galaxy if they think IMP is a form of "classical knowledge". But the really juicy stuff is layered in later. Are we prepared for "liberatory mathematics education"? Try not to gag while reading this!

-- Kevin Killion

(excerpts, with some bolding added for emphasis)

The Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice (GLLVSSJ) is a new small high school located in Chicago in the Little Village community. GLLVSSJ is one of four small high schools in the Lawndale/Little Village Campus.

Research Questions

We will study a number of questions related to teaching and learning mathematics for social justice.

1. Although teachers are using the Interactive Mathematics Program (what we call "classical knowledge"), they will also develop mathematics curriculum based on the generative themes (key social contradictions experienced in people's lives) expressed by students and community members alike ("community knowledge"). (We include in community knowledge students' language and culture as well.) At the same time, the school's (mathematics) curricula will provide students opportunities to read and write the world (develop sociopolitical consciousness and a sense of social agency). We refer to the latter as "critical knowledge." A key question is: how does one connect and synthesize all three knowledge bases-building on community knowledge so that students develop both critical and classical knowledge-while fully honoring and respecting each, to develop liberatory mathematics education in an urban Latino/a school given the current high-stakes accountability regimes and larger political climate?

2. There will be two forms of connected professional development for the mathematics teachers, first, in how to develop students' classical knowledge (i.e., professional development in the IMP curriculum provided by Patty Buenrostro), and second, in how to develop students' critical knowledge (provided by Rico Gutstein). Thus a second question is: How do teachers learn to teach mathematics for social justice, and what is the nature of successful professional development toward that goal? As the mathematics teachers have not themselves practiced social justice pedagogy and curriculum, we are interested in understanding the process by which they develop into social justice mathematics teachers, facilitated by the professional development and collaborative inquiry and practice.

3. GLLVSSJ accepted 95 incoming ninth graders in 2005 and will accept about that many in subsequent years. Given that it will focus on social justice, we seek to understand how students develop in a variety of ways, including their sociopolitical consciousness, sense of social agency, mathematical competencies, and sense of self (i.e., their identity development).

Instructivist said...

"They certainly aren't going to learn about math. Maybe the students can write essays about the injustice of not teaching students what they need to know."

That is the real injustice. But somehow I doubt these ideologues will recognize it as an injustice.

Also note that the candidate "[m]ust be willing to create alternative assessments...".

I guess you don't want students to take a real test if you are feeding them the junk IMP program.

Instructivist said...


Thanks for that additional information.

I find it outrageous that a handful of ideologues is able to implement their private political agenda in a public school at taxpayer expense. It's a scandal that needs exposure.

This is a pattern with these new small schools. See here Others are Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School and UPLIFT. Infinity asks the teacher candidate if "social justice [is] part of who you are and how you teach?" UPLIFT says in its mission statement that it will "will transform service delivery
so that the theme of social justice is embedded in all subject areas."

A lot of these schools, like The Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice and Infinity receive Gates Foundation grants to get going. See here for schools receiving Gates money

It's an unholy alliance between a former Weatherman fugitive turned ed professor and the richest man.

These schools are also deeply devoted to progressive/constructivist mumbo-jumbo.

Is this what Daley's celebrated Renaissance 2010 schools are all about?

Barry Garelick said...

"It's an unholy alliance between a former Weatherman fugitive turned ed professor and the richest man."

Instructivist, can you explain? Who is the former Weatherman fugitive turned ed professor? I figured out who the richest man is!

Anonymous said...

The Weatherman is William Ayers (prof at UofI)who with his wife committed several crimes in the name of war protesting during the 60's.

Instructivist said...


Anon is right. William Ayers is a major force behind the small schools movement and the "social justice" theme.

Here is more on his revolutionary background.

Myrtle said...

Math teachers are supposed to teach math? It's not clear to me that they are even supposed to know math. Only 2 out of 17 of Bush's National Math Advisory Panel folks are mathematicians, the rest are "educators", psychologists, etc. With an expert panel like that it's no surprise that social justice is deemed part of what makes a good math education at any other level of society.

Darren said...

Have you heard about Rethinking Schools? I've been to their web site, focusing on the Rethinking Mathematics portion. Sounds like the school in your post should contact the Rethinking Schools people--they'll find exactly what they're looking for.

I wrote two lengthy posts debunking the points on the Rethinking Schools web site; they can be found at