DeSantis Spox Finally Explains What She Thinks Critical Race Theory Is
On Friday, the Florida Department of Education announced that it had rejected 54 of the 132 (41 percent) submitted math textbooks on the grounds that said textbooks were filled with "critical race theory" and other "prohibited" topics. One might wonder how they might do that, being that they have absolutely no idea what critical race theory is, and if they did they would understand unless these children were enrolled in college-level law classes, they were almost definitely not learning about it.
“It seems that some publishers attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core, and indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement, demonstrating that he had no idea what he was talking about.
If you are wondering what sorts of things the DeSantis administration thinks are "critical race theory," spokesperson Christina Pushaw shared a photo of a 9th grade algebra worksheet that had caused some controversy when a teacher in Missouri downloaded it from the internet and assigned it to her class. The worksheet, quite interestingly, integrated details from Maya Angelou's biography into an algebra lesson. This is actually pretty cool and a great way to get kids who want to die of boredom in math class (Hi!) to pay attention.
The controversial part of the assignment included the fact that Angelou had been sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend as a child and that she worked as a pimp, sex worker and night club dancer to care for her son. As this is material for 9th graders — whom we can fairly assume know about these things by now — it really shouldn't have been.
Those who are saying it\u2019s fake need a reality check on what kind of content is being promoted in schools nowadays:pic.twitter.com/oVJkNsmsaF— Christina Pushaw \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Christina Pushaw \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1650159650
Along with the photograph of the worksheet — which, again, is not part of Florida textbooks and is probably the most "inflammatory"-seeming thing she was able to come up with to make people think the administration was being reasonable — Pushaw smugly tweeted "This is math homework from a public school district in Missouri. How does this help kids learn algebra, exactly? No wonder China is winning…"
I actually have an answer for that. It helps kids learn algebra by making algebra less mind-numbingly boring. I did poorly in math in school not because I was stupid and couldn't figure things out, but because math class was basically torture for me. I spent the whole period thinking about other things and counting down the minutes until it was over. Had it been combined with something that was remotely interesting and more useful for my future life than algebra, I feel certain I would have done better. Personally, I think this is actually brilliant.
Pushaw followed this criticism up with "So instead of having a hissy fit because @GovRonDeSantis banned CRT math textbooks, ask yourself why CRT is being injected in math instruction to begin with? I promise you, in China kids aren’t learning about pimping in math class."
So instead of having a hissy fit because @GovRonDeSantis banned CRT math textbooks, ask yourself why CRT is being injected in math instruction to begin with? I promise you, in China kids aren\u2019t learning about pimping in math class.— Christina Pushaw \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Christina Pushaw \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1650159984
How the hell is Maya Angelou's biographical information "critical race theory?" Is it literally just because she's Black? Is that how far they have expanded this now?
I'm just gonna say it. People who do not possess the necessary reading comprehension skills to even understand what the thing they are criticizing is — in this case, critical race theory — should not be commenting on the best way for children to learn.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse