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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says racism and colonialism should be talked about in history and social studies, after language on those issues was removed from the introduction to his government's new math curriculum.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Premier Doug Ford is defending the removal of language on racism and colonialism from the introduction to his government’s new math curriculum, saying those issues should be addressed in other classes.

Ford introduced the new curriculum after years of declining scores on standardized tests, and he said it’s important to get “back to the basics” and teach financial literacy and coding.

“In math, let’s stick with math,” Ford said Thursday. “Other social issues, let’s talk about it, there’s no doubt, but let’s not talk about it in math. Talk about it in other courses that the schools offer.”

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The government has not confirmed when the changes were made, but they appear to have followed the publication of recent media reports that were critical of a section referring to the content, context and importance of math as subjective.

It had said “mathematics has been used to normalize racism and marginalization of non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledges, and a decolonial, anti-racist approach to mathematics education makes visible its historical roots and social constructions.”

That section was removed from the preamble to the curriculum, as were mentions of “anti-racist and anti-oppressive teaching and learning opportunities,” and “the colonial contexts of present-day mathematics education.”

The NDP has criticized the changes, saying that schools need more of an equity and anti-racism lens, not less.

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