“Social justice” is the new Marxism of the Left.
The supposed meaning of the term is that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, wellbeing, justice and opportunity:
- According to Investopedia, the term “is broadly associated with the political left, and in the U.S. its advocates are mainly found in the Democratic party, particularly in the party’s self-identified progressive and socialist wings.”
- According to the Heritage Foundation, “Originally a Catholic term, first used about 1840 for a new kind of virtue (or habit) necessary for post-agrarian societies, the term has been bent by secular ‘progressive’ thinkers to mean uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages.”
- Stripped of its utopian gobbledygook, the best and most succinct definition of “social justice” is Urban Dictionary‘s: “A euphemism for an economic mugging by political force.“
Whatever the definition, “social justice” is a normative term; it’s about values — what is just or unjust.
Mathematics and science, in contrast, are not about values; neither is about just or unjust, good or bad. The American Heritage Dictionary defines:
- Mathematics as “The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.”
- Science as “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of [natural] phenomena.”
In epistemology, “social justice”, “mathematics” and “science” occupy entirely separate and different domains of truths: Social justice is normative; mathematics is analytic; science is empirical. Simply put, there is no such thing as “social justice mathematics” or “social justice science”. 2+2=4 is the same whether one is rich or poor, male or female, white or black. To say otherwise is akin to saying there are “social justice algebra” or “social justice bicycles” or “social justice belly buttons”.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal government agency that supports basic research and education in science and engineering, except medicine (which has its own federal agency, the National Institutes of Health).
With an annual budget of $7 billion (fiscal year 2012), the NSF funds approximately 24% of all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities. In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics, and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.
Alas, having corrupted all other institutions in America, the neo-Marxist disease of “social justice” has infected the National Science Foundation. The NSF has approved a (continuing) grant of $1,009,762 to Drexel University, a private university in Philadelphia, to train 24 undergraduate students to teach “social justice” mathematics and science. By my calculation, that comes to $42,073 taxpayer dollars per student.
The Drexel University project, which began this summer, promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) high school curricula that are “steeped in the context of social justice.” 24 Drexel undergraduate students will be trained to teach “social justice” mathematics and science in Philadelphia’s “high need” middle schools. How these students, upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, can be compelled to actually teach in “high need” Philadelphia middle schools is not clear.
The following is from the National Science Foundation website:
NSA’s Division of Undergraduate Education
Award Abstract #1758345
Preparing Mathematics and Science Teachers for Middle School
Award Number: 1758345
Award Instrument: Continuing grant
Start Date: June 15, 2018
End Date: May 31, 2023 (Estimated)
Award Amount to Date: $1,009,762.00
The project’s “principal investigator” and “co-investigators” are all Drexel University faculty:
1. Sheila Vaidya, Professor of Education
2. Mary Jo Grdina, Clinical Professor of Education
3. Shari Moskow, Professor of Arts & Science
4. Donald McEachron, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Below is the NSF’s gobbledygook jargonese “Abstract” describing the $1.009 million grant:
The project will use recent scientific, mathematical, and educational knowledge to prepare and support the twenty-four pre-service teacher candidates with an emphasis on understanding the culture and life experiences of students in high-need schools. The project intends to promote social justice teaching, which emphasizes connecting science, mathematics, and engineering instruction to students’ personal experiences and culture. This connection can leverage the funds of knowledge that each student brings to learning. Inquiry-based instruction supports this approach as it opens communication among students by establishing a learning community of shared knowledge and experience. Seminars related to mindfulness and developing emotional intelligence will augment the Scholars’ coursework. The latter will be scaffolded to develop the following behaviors: professionalism, growth mindset, commitment to serving all students well, and cultural competency. Essential skills that will be developed through the coursework include understanding students’ cultural communities as a foundation for classroom culture and building strong relationships, taking ownership of student learning and professional growth, setting and maintaining high behavioral expectations, leading rigorous and aligned content instruction, and demonstrating content expertise and pedagogical content knowledge. These essential skills and core competencies will be demonstrated in the context of teaching mathematics and science to middle-grades students in high-need schools. Early experiences consisting of linking content knowledge with appropriate pedagogical and content knowledge with pre-residency and residency experiences are intended to strengthen the Scholars’ content and pedagogical knowledge while supporting first steps into the world of teaching. Rubrics to assess the attainment of the core competencies and essential skills will be used to collect data related to the Scholars’ proficiency in these aspects. It is anticipated that the documentation of project activities and identification of learnings from project implementation will be disseminated to the education community through conference presentations, a project website, and professional publications. The long-term and far-reaching benefits to society of this project are the potential to document and share sustainable approaches, steeped in the context of social-justice, for recruiting and preparing STEM majors to provide success in learning mathematics and science for all middle-grades students in a high-need school district.
The National Science Foundation’s manager of the “social justice math and science” program is Kathleen B. Bergin (email@example.com).
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