Anti-bias curriculum

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The anti-bias curriculum is an activist approach to educational curricula which attempts to challenge prejudices such as racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, 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 United Kingdom, United States and other Western societies, where many scientific worldviews are seen as manifestations of white privileged Western cultures,[2] claiming that there is a sociocultural aspect to education; the studies of these subjects in Western societies have usually exhibited racial and cultural bias,[3] and focuses too much on "dead white men," especially in mathematics.[4][note 1]


The anti-bias movement was born out of the multiculturalism movement.[clarification needed] Some of the people involved in the multiculturalism movement felt that it did not do enough to address social problems in the education system.

Multicultural curriculum taught basic facts about different cultures, often on specially designated culture days or holidays, rather than being systematically infused into the entire curriculum. While this did increase students' superficial knowledge of other cultures, some people within the movement wanted students to know why they didn't know about other cultures and why certain people of certain ethnicities and classes are less likely to be economically successful.

C. K. Raju has published the view that imposed academic standards are a form of white imperialism.[5]


The objectives of the anti-bias curriculum are to raise awareness of bias and to reduce bias. Anti-bias curriculum transgresses the boundaries by actively providing children with a solid understanding of social problems and issues while equipping them with strategies to combat bias and improve social conditions for all.

Instead of presenting the culturally dominant view of a subject, idea, history, or person, the anti-bias curriculum presents all possible sides. It claims to allow the student to see the whole view of the subject. Students will be able to analyze the topic from the different perspectives and see why and how different groups have different views of the subject.

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


An example of an anti-bias curriculum is anti-racist mathematics, which was addressed by Margaret Thatcher in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 1987, which was discussing an alleged conspiracy of "hard left education authorities and extremist teachers,"[6][7][note 2] and later on [in 2005], Fox News carried a story detailing "The 'anti-racist education' program in place at Newton Public Schools."[8]

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:

  • Discussion of the mathematical knowledge of ancient civilizations outside of Europe, and non-European contributions to mathematical knowledge and discovery;[9][10]
  • The avoidance of racial stereotypes or cultural bias in classroom materials, textbooks, coursework topics and examination questions. For example, a wide range of names could be used in word problem questions.[11]

With less culture-centric standards, African Americans dominate the study of progressive disciplines: African American students have been reported to perform better on progressive matrix tests than white students,[12] and Shahid Muhammed has concluded that poor mathematics performance among African Americans is linked to higher anxiety caused by negative stereotyping: maths is seen as catering to middle-class white people.[13]

Designing a curriculum[edit]

Advocates claim there are two parts to an educational curriculum:

  • The "formal curriculum" consists of the educational content, expectations, course materials (e.g. textbooks), evaluation, and instruction.
  • The "hidden curriculum" encompasses all the values passed on by teachers and educators, and from the school or educational milieu (i.e., the culture of the educational setting). For instance, the hidden curriculum teaches children and students to value punctuality and transmits dominant culture (e.g. chosen holiday celebration, monetary norms, manners).

Anti-bias curriculum advocates claim that varying degrees and layers of oppression exist in educational institutions, and that a biased curriculum perpetuates oppression, interferes with interpersonal relationships, and impedes the acquisition of skills and knowledge. The anti-bias approach urges educators to be aware of these social limitations and to eliminate them. The anti-bias approach is intended to teach children about acceptance, tolerance and respect; to critically analyze what they are taught; and to recognize the connections between ethnicity, gender, religion, and social class, and power, privilege, prestige, and opportunity.


Educational experts such as Deirdre Almeida, have said that typical anti-bias materials omit the contributions of non-African ethnic groups, such as Native Americans, Inuit and Alaskan Natives. Portrayals of Native Americans in typical anti-bias materials conflate actual aboriginal practices with invented, obsolete or erroneous ideas about Native American culture.[14]

Other critics, such as J. Amos Hatch, have noted that some anti-bias curricula can be construed as actively or passively adopting an anti-European racist bias, seeking to minimize contributions of Europeans in favor of other ethnic groups. This has produced "anti-bias" curricula that are overtly biased against people of European descent or in favor of people of African descent.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See ethnomathematics.
  2. ^ See loony left for more context of this stereotype.


  1. ^ a b What is Anti-Bias Education? 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." European Education 26.1 (1994): 67-74.
  5. ^ Raju, C. K. (2010). "Ending Academic Imperialism: a Beginning" (PDF). New Delhi, India: Centre for Studies in Civilizations. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Thatcher, Margaret (9 October 1987). "Speech to Conservative Party Conference". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. 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. 
  7. ^ Anna S. King; Michael Jonathan Reiss (1993). The Multicultural Dimension of the National Curriculum (illustrated, reprint ed.). ISBN 9780750700696. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "'Anti-Racist' Message in Mass. Math Class". Fox News. 8 February 2005. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Ramesh Gangolli. "Asian Contributions to Mathematics" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Indian Mathematics". The Story of Mathematics. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Kennedy, Leonard; Tipps, Steve; Johnson, Art (2007). "Guiding Children's Learning of Mathematics". Cengage Learning.
  12. ^ "Race, Intelligence and IQ: Are Blacks Smarter than Whites?". AfricaResource. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Countering Prejudice against American Indians and Alaska Natives through Antibias Curriculum and Instruction. ERIC Digest.
  15. ^ J. Amos Hatch, Qualitative Research in Early Childhood Settings

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.