A Minnesota school district is spending millions of dollars to racially diversify elementary school math lessons as student proficiency scores plummet.
Minneapolis Public Schools will spend more than $2 million to incorporate "ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity" into the K-5 math curriculum, according to a June school board presentation reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The new curriculum, which will be implemented in the fall, "reflects the lived experiences of our Minneapolis students and develops positive math identity," a school district executive director said at a June 14 school board meeting, by adding "cultural and linguistically responsive materials."
Less than half of Minneapolis Public School elementary students, 43 percent, are proficient in math, 14 points lower than the Minnesota average.
Minneapolis is not the first school district to prioritize "diversity, equity, and inclusion" initiatives over academics. Public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, in July amended their fourth- and fifth-grade social studies curriculum to include "Social Justice Standards" for "antiracist" education, even though about half of its students lack proficiency in math and language arts, the Free Beacon reported. Seattle's school district spent $5 million on DEI initiatives, allotting only $4.5 million to math, science, and literacy. Virginia Democrats have proposed eliminating most advanced math courses in the name of equity.
Minneapolis Public Schools approved two contracts with the Math Learning Center to purchase the DEI curricula, one to buy the K-2 math curriculum for an amount not exceeding $1,149,539.35 and one to buy the Grades 3-5 curriculum for an amount not exceeding $1,028,960.55.
The school district solicited parent feedback by dividing parents by race and ethnicity to discuss the proposed changes in "culturally specific" focus groups.
The diversified curriculum has been a "shared priority for a number of years," Superintendent Ed Graff said at the meeting. The school district told the Free Beacon the math curriculum will "contribute to an understanding of ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity" and "create culturally inclusive materials and learning experiences."
Update 4:08 p.m.: This piece has been updated with comment from the school district.