Posted on August 1, 2013

Book Shows Radical Teachers How to Mix Traditional Math with ‘Social Justice’ Political Lessons

Ben Velderman, EAG News, July 5, 2013

It’s said that misery loves company.

Perhaps that’s one reason a group of gloomy, radical teachers is trying so hard to poison the minds of the nation’s K-12 students with their anti-American, anti-free market ideas.

They’re miserable living in “the land of the free,” and want others to share their pain.

The educators are part of Rethinking Schools, an organization that’s been sneaking left-wing “social justice” lessons into America’s K-12 classrooms for nearly three decades.

The group’s latest effort to indoctrinate the nation’s youth is a 286-page book aimed at teachers, titled “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers.” The book is a mix of math lesson plans and essays from activist educators who explain how they’ve used their classrooms to advance a progressive political philosophy.

Two main themes emerge from the pages of “Rethinking Mathematics.”

The first is that the U.S. is a hopelessly racist country that routinely oppresses “people of color.”

This message is conveyed through lessons and essays about racial profiling, environmental racism, unfair mortgage lending practices of Big Banks, the “overabundance of liquor stores” in minority communities, and slave-owning U.S. presidents.

The book’s other major theme is that capitalism’s unequal distribution of wealth is the root cause of the world’s suffering. Students learn to despise free market economics in lessons about third-world sweatshops, “living wage” laws, the earnings of fast food workers and restaurant CEOs, and the “hidden” costs of meat production.


As the “Rethinking” teachers demonstrate, the math concepts of ratios, averages, percentages, bar graphs, density and geometric formulas are very useful when training kids to see the world in their preferred categories of “haves” and “have nots.”


The ideas contained in “Rethinking Mathematics” are based on the principles popularized by Paulo Freire, the late South American radical educator.

Freire believed the purpose of education is to help students understand the historical and political forces at work in the world. He referred to this as “reading the world.”

According to Freire’s theory, students must understand how the world’s systems work to oppress the masses before they can reform those systems.


Eric (Rico) Gutstein–a “Rethinking” editor and occasional public school teacher–recounts how his students reacted to a lesson about the math (and perceived subtle racism) behind mapmaking.

After a class discussion about the Mercator map–which, for various and legitimate reasons, distorts the size of the continents–one student had an epiphany about why the map is so popular in schools.

“I guess that’s because they wanted to teach (that) all Americans (are) superior and that all whites are better and superior than us (brown or lightly toasted, hardly white and Mexican),” wrote Elena, in a reflective essay. “We were always taught that we were a minority and didn’t deserve anything.”

Another student, Marisol, said the Mercator map lesson “makes me think what other wrong information we have been given since childhood. It makes you doubt your social studies book, history written by the white people.”

Talk about literally “reading the world” in a left-wing way.

In a chapter titled, “Whose Community Is This?” Gutstein discusses a lesson he taught high school seniors about Big Banks, subprime mortgages and minority communities.

After the lesson was over, one student concluded “black and brown” communities need to set aside their differences and “unite” to “fight the bigger people out there.”