Math: The Latest Battleground in the War Against Truth | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Math: The Latest Battleground in the War Against Truth

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, set in the superstate of Oceania, the government propagates the absurd equation 2 + 2 = 5. Through steady indoctrination, and under the ever-watchful Thought Police, the citizens accept it as an unquestionable truth. The equation symbolizes the extinction of free thought in repressive totalitarian societies: facts, truths and objective reality are subordinated to political will and twisted to serve the authoritarian goals of the Party and its leader, Big Brother.

Something similar is happening in many American schools. An eerie Orwellian shadow is being cast over math instruction. The focus is insidiously shifting from arithmetic, geometry, and algebra to critical race theory, ethnic studies, and intersectionality. Ridiculous as it may sound, an objective field of knowledge is being thrust into the realm of social experimentation. Students are being taught not how to think but what to think. Instead of developing critical thinking skills, today’s math classes stipulate that students hold particular views about the world and instruct them on how they must extinguish what is posited as “wrongthink.”

Across America, math teaching practices that were considered essential are suddenly being condemned as racist, requiring students to display the steps in solving a problem is now deemed white supremacist; teachers’ corrections, and even the concept of a correct answer, are considered suspect or undesirable; polite interaction, raising hands before commenting or asking questions, and maintaining order in the classroom are viewed as reinforcing paternalism and condemned as “power hoarding.”


Clarence F. Stephens


In reading this article, I wonder how Clarence Francis Stephens would respond. He receives credit for placing the Math Department at the State University of New York College at Potsdam as the most successful in the United States.

Although Dr. Stephens had retired before I attended this college in my 40s (and majored in Math), his legacy remained steadfast. As I recall, the college held a one-hundredth-birthday party for Dr. Stephens which I attended. In poor health at the time, Dr. Stephens could not attend, but many members of his family did and I was able to meet some of them.


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