Stanford Mathematics Education Professor Who Got Algebra Banned in SF Now Accused of ‘Reckless Disregard for Accuracy’

2024-04-02 08:00:39

Legal Insurrection has previously reported on Stanford Education Professor Jo Boaler, who was a leader behind the ongoing effort to change the math curriculum framework in California that includes, in part, increasing equity, pushing Algebra 1 back to 9th grade, and applying social justice principles to lessons.

In fact, she was a leading advocate for removing algebra from the San Francisco middle school curriculum.

“We’re not changing or lowering the standards. We’re outlining how inequitable the teaching of math is right now,” said Jo Boaler, a Stanford University math education professor at the forefront of the changes.

March 2024 has not been kind to Boaler. To begin with, on “Super Tuesday,” voters in San Francisco reversed the change in the mathematics curriculum. By over 80% of the vote, the city’s schools must offer Algebra I in 8th grade—overruling the woke ban on the course imposed in the name of racial “equity.”

Now, she is facing allegations of “reckless disregard for accuracy” in her work. An official academic complaint has been filed with Stanford University’s provost and dean of research.

An anonymous complaint was reportedly filed Wednesday with Stanford citing 52 instances in which Jo Boaler allegedly included incorrect information about outside studies in learning, neuroscience and math education in her articles, lectures and books, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Several examples were in a draft of the California K-12 math framework, a guidance document about best practices in teaching math that Boaler co-authored.

The complaint is 100 pages long and cites 52 cases of misrepresentation. One of the misrepresentations appears related to Boaler’s assertions that timed testing causes anxiety.

On the question of timed tests causing “math anxiety,” Boaler has asserted that “researchers now know that students experience stress on timed tests that they do not experience even when working on the same math questions in untimed conditions.” As evidence, she cites a study by psychologist Randall Engle. However, Engle’s paper in question deals with “working memory” rather than student anxiety, and Engle himself called the assessment a “huge misrepresentation” of his work.

Anna Stokke, a mathematics professor at the University of Winnipeg who has studied this claim and found that it contradicts available evidence, said many math teachers nonetheless seem to believe it—and that their belief seems to stem from Boaler.

“I’ve tried to figure out where this misconception comes from among teachers, that timed tests cause math anxiety, and it often seems to lead back to Jo Boaler’s faulty opinion piece,” Stokke told the Washington Free Beacon.

The complaint is a chilling catalog of alleged misrepresentations and cites Stanford University’s own guidelines in its opening.

Stanford’s Faculty Handbook, Section 4.3.1 says:

“(1) In order to maintain the integrity of its teaching and research and to preserve academic freedom, Stanford University demands high standards of professional conduct from its faculty. In the case of a serious violation of these standards, a faculty member may face disciplinary charges under the following procedures.”

In accordance with Stanford’s research and disciplinary policies, the purpose of this document is to report a breach of these high standards of professional conduct and academic duties and to submit a complaint. This complaint alleges that Stanford professor Dr. Jo Boaler has demonstrated a pattern of ‘reckless disregard for accuracy,’ by engaging in multiple instances of citation misrepresentation.

Any research that supports woke policies should be thoroughly reviewed. I look forwardStanford’s response to this complaint, especially given Boaler’s influence on mathematics, a core subject essential to good science and the innovations and discoveries that come from it.


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Stanford Mathematics Education Professor Who Got Algebra Banned in SF Now Accused of ‘Reckless Disregard for Accuracy’


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