Anti-bias curriculum

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The anti-bias curriculum is a curriculum which attempts to challenge prejudices such as racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, weightism, homophobia, classism, colorism, heightism, handism, religious discrimination and other forms of kyriarchy. The approach is favoured by civil rights organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League.[1]

The anti-racist curriculum is part of a wider social constructivist movement in the various societies of the Western World, where many scientific worldviews are seen as manifestations of Western cultures who enjoy a privileged position over societies from the "Global South",[2] along with claiming that there is a sociocultural aspect to education, i.e. that the studies of these subjects in Western societies have usually exhibited racial and cultural bias,[3] and that they focus too much on "dead white men", especially in mathematics.[4][note 1]


The anti-bias curriculum is seen by its proponents as a catalyst in the critical analysis of various social conditions. It is implemented with the intent of reducing social oppression with the ultimate goal of "social justice" in mind.[1]


Margaret Thatcher, in a speech made during the Conservative Party Conference of 1987, referred to "hard left education authorities and extremist teachers" teaching "anti-racist mathematics—whatever that may be."[5][6] and later on in 2005, Fox News carried a story detailing "The 'anti-racist education' program in place at Newton Public Schools."[7]

The article The Politics of Anti-Racist Mathematics by George Gheverghese Joseph goes through many different assumptions made by teachers of mathematics that can have a negative effect on students of ethnic minorities.[4] An anti-racist approach to mathematics education could include any or all of the following:

American mathematics instructor Shahid Muhammed has suggested that poor mathematics performance among African Americans is linked to higher anxiety caused by negative stereotyping, as he states that many associate mathematics with middle-class white people.[10]


There has been criticism of aspects of the anti-bias curriculum. Eastern Washington University professor Deirdre Almeida has stated that most anti-bias curricula omit the contributions of non-African ethnic groups, such as Native Americans, Inuit and Alaska Natives. Almeida has claimed that portrayals of Native Americans in anti-bias material conflate actual aboriginal practices with invented, obsolete or erroneous ideas about Native American culture.[11]

Other critics, such as University of Tennessee professor J. Amos Hatch, have claimed that some anti-bias curricula can be construed as actively or passively adopting an anti-European/western racial bias, seeking to minimize contributions of ethnic Europeans in favor of other ethnic groups. Hatch has stated that this ideology has produced "anti-bias" curricula that are overtly biased against people of European descent or in favor of people of African descent.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]



  1. ^ a b What is Anti-Bias Education? Archived 2004-12-12 at the Wayback Machine Anti-Defamation League Quotation: "Anti-bias education takes an active, problem solving approach that is integrated into all aspects of an existing curriculum and a school's environment."
  2. ^ Ending Academic Imperialism: a Beginning", C. K. Raju
  3. ^ "Is Science Western in Origin?", C. K. Raju
  4. ^ a b Joseph, George Gheverghese. "The politics of anti-racist mathematics." Archived 2022-05-18 at the Wayback Machine European Education 26.1 (1994): 67-74.
  5. ^ Thatcher, Margaret (9 October 1987). "Speech to Conservative Party Conference". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2015. And in the inner cities—where youngsters must have a decent education if they are to have a better future—that opportunity is all too often snatched from them by hard left education authorities and extremist teachers. And children who need to be able to count and multiply are learning anti-racist mathematics—whatever that may be.
  6. ^ Anna S. King; Michael Jonathan Reiss (1993). The Multicultural Dimension of the National Curriculum (illustrated, reprint ed.). ISBN 9780750700696. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  7. ^ "'Anti-Racist' Message in Mass. Math Class". Fox News. 8 February 2005. Archived from the original on 18 April 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  8. ^ Ramesh Gangolli. "Asian Contributions to Mathematics" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Leonard; Tipps, Steve; Johnson, Art (2007). "Guiding Children's Learning of Mathematics". Cengage Learning.
  10. ^ Pitre, Abul; Pitre, Esrom; Ray, Ruth; Hilton-Pitre, Twana (15 August 2009). Educating African American Students: Foundations, Curriculum, and Experiences (illustrated ed.). R&L Education. ISBN 9781607092346. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  11. ^ Countering Prejudice against American Indians and Alaska Natives through Antibias Curriculum and Instruction. Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine ERIC Digest.
  12. ^ J. Amos Hatch, Qualitative Research in Early Childhood Settings Archived May 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine


Further reading[edit]

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  • Bartlett, Lesley and Marla Frederick, Thaddeus Gulbrandsen, Enrique Murillo. "The Marketization of Education: Public Schools for Private Ends." Anthropology & Education Quarterly 27.2 (1996): 186–203.
  • Ferguson, Ann Arnett. "Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity." (2000): 592–600. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Osborne, A. Barry. "Practice into Theory into Practice: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy for Students We Have Marginalized and Normalized." Anthropology & Education Quarterly 27.3 (1996): 285–314.
  • Van Ausdale, Debra and Joe Feagin. "What and How Children Learn About Racial and Ethnic Matters." The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism. (2001): 175–196. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.