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Back to March Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 266 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS MARCH 2008

Education Schools Neglect Math, Obsess over Multiculturalism
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Catherine Shock and Jay P. Greene's recent analysis of education school courses reinforces the NMAP's criticism of the current state of teacher training. At 71 top education schools, Shock and Greene computed a "multiculturalism-to-math ratio" by comparing the number of course titles and descriptions that include the words "multiculturalism," "diversity," and "inclusion," on the one hand, with the number that include the word "math" and its variants, on the other.

According to this "rough indicator of the relative importance of social goals to academic skills in ed schools," the nation's teacher training programs offer about 82% more courses in multiculturalism than in math. UCLA hosts the most imbalanced education program in the nation: 47 UCLA education course titles or descriptions contain the word "multiculturalism" or "diversity," and only three contain the word "math."

24 schools actually do offer more classes in math than in multiculturalism, but only five offer twice as many.

"Because public schools are assured of ever-increasing funding, regardless of how they do in math, they can indulge their enthusiasm for multiculturalism, and prospective teachers can, too," Shock and Greene conclude. The authors do not deny the importance of cultural awareness in schools of education or in public schools, but they call for a reconsideration of priorities. "Our students probably have great appreciation already for students from other cultures — who're cleaning their clocks in math skills, and will do so economically, too, if we don't wise up." (City Journal, Winter 2008)


 
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