$1M federal grant to train 24 teachers of ‘social justice’ math/science

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“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 (kbergin@nsf.gov).

France A. Córdova is the director of the National Science Foundation, appointed by Barack Obama. Please ask President Trump @realDonaldTrump to fire her and appoint another.

H/t Washington Free Beacon


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18 responses to “$1M federal grant to train 24 teachers of ‘social justice’ math/science

  1. What nonsense. Giving a grant of $1,000,000 so that teachers of social justice can train illiterate morons that 2+2 does not equal 3 because they were underprivileged. What happened to the millions of other Americans who grew before 1950s and struggled to achieve despite being underprivileged, some became astronauts?

  2. Former VA Democrat Senator Jim Webb has publicly stated that the Democrat party no longer represents the American people and has been hijacked by special interests groups. He was one of the last of the “Blue Dog Democrats”.

    Refocusing the Democratic Party Means Listening to Jim Webb: Hardships of White People Matter Too


  3. “Essential skills … include… taking ownership of student learning and professional growth, setting and maintaining high behavioral expectations …”

    “take ownership” = you take the blame when this doesn’t work, but we’ll still get to keep our grant money & jobs.

    “maintaining high behavioral expectations” – talk about delusional.

    This ought to be fun.

  4. Every time I hear or read the word “social” I can’t help but feeling noxious, it is all equal, no distinction, mechanize, it is all for the one in control. The “social” wave is non-stoppable and sad to know we’ll all eventually succumb to its power.

  5. I had some actual teachers that taught us how to think. They were the WW2 and Korean War vets who went to school on the GI Bill. They were genuine educators. The last couple years of High School I had some Draft Dodger Pot Smoker teachers who were the forerunners of the kneel down movement. Their classes consisted of telling us how evil America is… I am ashamed of those teachers while I had the utmost respect for the ones who served… Those same lowlife teachers of my last couple years convinced the school that the Industrial Arts program was a waste of time and that the school should instead have a performing arts program ala “Fame”…. This was put into the curriculum a few years after I graduated…. Believe me there were a lot more students that were prepared for life by the Industrial Arts department than by the nonsense they replaced it with… I use the name Watertender proudly because that is what I have been for the last 45 years prepared in part by my Industrial Arts teachers… They helped turn me into a competent Power Plant Engineer aka Watertender…

  6. In looking at “About NSF” it appears to be federally funded. There is an appropriations bill that is passed each year to fund this thing. I suppose my main question is, just who determines that “social justice” is a constitutionally mandated function of federal governance?

    I would have to defer to DCG, who I believe has experience with writing grant applications, to better understand how their statement of intent for this particular grant comports with their stated mission.

    Dr. E’s explanation as to the distinctions between “science” and “social convention” are excellent. Again, we all know that the “left” is pushing this. How and when did the government at large get into this and on what authority is it based?

    This is more of the same thinking that has gone on since the 1950’s whereby, if you throw enough money and restrictions on the freedom of speech at something you can turn Kenyans into scholars. Oops, didn’t they try that already?

    Congress is starting to better resemble PETA. I wonder of these “teachers” will have to become proficient in Jive to get their certificates?

  7. CogitoErgoSumantra

    “Social Justice” – “…the term has been bent by secular ‘progressive’ thinkers”

    In the words of my late high school teacher, the word was “adulterated”. But the Left tends to do that, “co-opting” terms & phrases to take power from them and create their own new reality… which is of course, a delusion.

    If they intend to teach kids STEM topics “where they live”, and with their unique situations and lives in mind, I say fine (and NO, don’t include “art” in there and re-term it “STEAM” like the new PBS show; art doesn’t save millions of lives, create economic progress in society, & increase lifespan).

    But don’t teach them that facts are “flexible”, or bendable to meet one’s beliefs or needs. Or that what is considered “truth” is only so because it was unduly contrived by rich, white, Christian men long ago, and for that reason, cannot be respected or held true. That would bet he absolute worst thing to do.

    Instead, maybe teach them how science applies to everyday life. Or how math can be used to figure out a personal or family budget, or how much to spend on groceries before wasting it on other things. Encourage them to use their minds to get good jobs, rather than relying on the government or criminal activity for income. And encourage personal responsibility and moderation!

    Here’s the real problem with such a program: unless and until you can change attitudes in “urban areas” (and elsewhere) such that families and children value these STEM subjects, no amount of taxpayer-funded money is going to make ANY difference. The kids are NOT going to take anything away from such teaching except perhaps a couple of “neat” experiments, without any understanding of the principles behind them. That’s just how it is, speaking as a science & tech teacher of suburban college students. Attitudes and societal influence matter. Make high-paying jobs available for STEM graduates and give them positive press in the media, rather than just salivating over “image is king” athletes and entertainers, or even dealers, pimps & thugs.

  8. That’s why some people say “axe me anything” and “I dindu nuffin”. I agree about the “adulteration” and “coopting” of words and phrases. The cure isn’t teaching people to dig down its to teach those in the gutter to climb up.

    One doesn’t teach proper English by speaking jive. If they want to get back to basics they should start in kindergarten insisting on appropriate manners. That should be enough of a challenge to tell the tale.

  9. This nonsense is why America’s young people are ill equipped to take available, well-paying jobs compared to students worldwide. We don’t just bring in foreigners to take jobs “Americans don’t want to do,” but also the jobs Americans are unable to do. What does “social justice” have to do with math and science? That is just plain nuts. We either abolish the federal Dept. of Education, or our kids get dumber.

  10. I suppose that when push comes to shove, this means we will end up with more and more young people who are not able to utilize either math or science in their own lives . . . . and life in general will remain a mystery to them.

  11. Let’s see. They don’t know what gender they are. They don’t know which bathroom to use. They don’t know how to buy a postage stamp or tie their shoes. But BOY, do they know how to whine.

    Now, if you’re crazy, like me, you may find yourself asking just HOW did we get here? Just WHO authorized the changes that led to this mess?

    There is a huge clue in analyzing the last administration. This certainly started before then, but Obongo really launched this whole bunch of useless parasites on the world.

    So, when I look at the current administration, I have to ask myself, why are ANY of the hold overs from Obongo still there? They should have gone through there with a pressure washer.

    • At the last moment, Obongo converted all his lackeys to “civil service” status; hence, they cannot be fired, short of murder or treason. Otherwise, they would have been gone on Day One.

      • That’s very true. It’s called “burrowing in”. It has been done for decades. First they make political appointments. Then, just before they leave office, they covert them to “competitive” service. Then they act as moles.

        It is not “impossible” to get rid of them, it just isn’t easy. I’ve done it. You just have to watch them, dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s”.

  12. The arbiters of wisdom have clearly gone mad.

  13. This must not be tolerated. Light up the phones and we must bring a class action suit against nsf and the congress


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