Our favorite edu-blogstress Kimberly Swigert of Number Two Pencil links to fellow edu-blogster Kitchen Table Math’s complaint about the increasing tendency in mathematics textbooks to perpetuate negative stereotypes about men and boys.
For example, KTM points out, the fifth-grade volume in the popular textbook series “Everyday Math” includes this problem in a lesson on interpreting graphs:
“Would you be willing to tell strangers they had: Smudges on their faces? Food stuck between their teeth? Dandruff?”
A series of pie-graphs then informs the youngsters that–guess what?–men are much more likely than women to engage in such doltish behavior. Writes KTM:
“Message: men are rude schmucks, titter, titter.
“It’s a cliche, but it goes without saying that you could not publish the same word problem about blacks or women or Jews or old people or Muslims or Navajo Indians.
“But you can tell 10-year old boys that when they grow up they’ll be dopes.”