Could it have anything to do with her gender?

I don’t quite know where to begin. It’s not just that a highly respected math educator (a professor at Stanford, no less) has been unfairly attacked by a couple of mathematicians. The shocking thing is that the attacks are so personal. Or maybe the shocking thing is that one of the mathematicians can publicly make racist comments about learning math. But he defends himself:

This was supposed to be private. If I had known it was going to have worldwide circulation, I wouldn’t have used the word.

Does that sound at all familiar, but in a somewhat different context and from a different speaker?

Anyway, here’s what I’m talking about:

Wayne Bishop, a math professor at Cal State LA, said “little pickaninnies just don’t learn math like we do.” That’s the remark that was “supposed to be private.” He claimed it was OK to say this because it wasn’t his point of view; he says he was merely attributing it to liberals as their point of  view. Furthermore, it was 15 years ago, so why is it surfacing now? Go ahead and read the article in the link, but then come back here for the answer.

Bishop and his fellow mathematician, James Milgram, have been publicly attacking Jo Boaler, the highly respected math educator I referred to in my first paragraph above. Their attacks include false allegations, as Boaler describes in her article. I could summarize the appalling details, but I would rather let you read them yourself. Please do so!



Categories: Life, Math, Teaching & Learning