Trump inaugural donor charged with campaign finance and lobbying violations
Trump inaugural donor charged with campaign finance and lobbying violations originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Federal prosecutors charged a California-based money manager, who donated nearly $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, with foreign lobbying practices violations, tax evasion and breaking campaign finance laws, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Imaad Zuberi, 49, is expected to plead guilty to the charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California said.
Prior to his donations to the Trump inaugural committee, Zuberi had long been a prolific political donor to Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. After the election, Zuberi’s company, Avenue Ventures, donated $900,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee, according to FEC records.
Many of the crimes described by federal prosecutors took place prior to his donation to Trump. The candidates to whom Zuberi funneled money are not named in the court records, but are said to include both federal and state campaigns.
According to court documents filed Tuesday, federal prosecutors said Zuberi had „solicited foreign nationals and representatives of foreign governments with claims he could use his influence in Washington, D.C. to change United States foreign policy and create business opportunities for his clients and himself.”
Zuberi kept more than $1 million of those foreign-based funds, which came from individuals in Sri Lanka and Bahrain, for his own personal use, the Justice Department said.
„Mr. Zuberi circumvented laws designed to insulate U.S. policy and our election process from foreign intervention,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement. “This investigation has halted his illegal conduct, will result in several felony convictions, and could send him to prison for a lengthy period of time.”
ABC News reported in February that federal prosecutors in New York had subpoenaed documents from President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee about its dealings with Zuberi and his company, Avenue Ventures.
Zuberi will make an initial appearance in Los Angeles on Oct. 30.
This isn’t the first time Zuberi’s lobbying work in Sri Lanka has been scrutinized. Zuberi generated headlines as early as 2015, when Foreign Policy reported that the Sri Lanka government paid him and his company more than $6 million over five months in 2014, in part to try and influence U.S. foreign policy. That led to a Justice Department probe into whether he failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, but he was never charged at that time.
Since Trump’s victory in November 2016, Zuberi has had frequent run-ins with close advisers of Trump, including the then-president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former White House chief of staff Steve Bannon, according to pictures posted on Zuberi’s personal social media accounts, reviewed by ABC News.
Zuberi, who has business interests in multiple countries around the world, including Sri Lanka, Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan, has reportedly sought help from Cohen before and after the inauguration getting access to high-level Trump administration staffers for potential business opportunities, to which Cohen told Zuberi that it would cost upward of $1 million to attend high-level events, including festivities around the inauguration, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
During one of the inaugural events Zuberi was invited to, he sat next to government officials from Turkey, where he was pursuing a business project, and at another inaugural dinner, Zuberi rubbed shoulders with U.S. lawmakers, New York business executives and diplomats from Cambodia, Cameroon and Bahrain, where he has big investments, according to The New York Times.
In an interview with The New York Times earlier this year, when he was subpoenaed by New York prosecutors, Zuberi said his donations were „more of a networking thing,” with a goal of helping him meet people who could help his business pursuits.
„To open doors, I have to donate. It’s just a fact of life,” Zuberi told The New York Times.
The anonymous senior Trump administration official behind a 2018 New York Times op-ed that declared there was a „resistance” within the administration is writing a book available next month, the person’s publisher said on Tuesday.
The book, entitled „A Warning,” will be published Nov. 19 and will give „an unprecedented behind-the-scenes portrait of the Trump presidency from the anonymous senior official,” the publisher, Twelve, said Tuesday.
„There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first,” the official wrote in the Sep. 5, 2018, opinion piece, which set off a firestorm in Washington.
The author will stay anonymous, Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, said. A spokesperson for Twelve had no comment as to whether the author is still in the administration.
The New York Times had identified the op-ed author as a „a senior official in the Trump administration,” and on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the book’s publisher said that Twelve would not „embellish or elaborate on how the New York Times initially characterized our author” so as to protect that person’s identify.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in response to the publisher’s announcement, said in a statement, „It takes a lot of conviction and bravery to write a whole book anonymously.”
The official wrote last year that a group of officials was working within the administration for the express purpose of thwarting what the author said are dangerous tendencies on the part of the president.
„I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the person wrote.
The author said he or she supported the president’s policies but not the president’s temperament, painting a portrait of an unfocused president with rash tendencies and poor decision-making abilities.
(Bloomberg) — Turkey is snubbing U.S. demands for one of its biggest banks to face charges that it helped Iran evade sanctions amid escalating tensions fueled by Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria.
U.S. prosecutors charged Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS last week with enabling a sanctions-evasion scheme that helped Iran tap $20 billion in frozen foreign oil sales revenue sitting in foreign bank accounts, at a time when the U.S. was trying to maximize leverage over the country in negotiations to abandon its nuclear program.
The timing of the indictment led Turkish officials to dismiss the charges as false and politically motivated. The bank and its U.S. lawyers have refused to accept a legal summons or acknowledge U.S. legal authority in the matter. At a hearing Tuesday, no lawyers or executives showed up to represent the bank. A day earlier Turkey named a former executive at the bank, who’d been convicted in the U.S., to head the Istanbul stock exchange.
Tensions between Turkey and the U.S. have heightened since President Donald Trump ordered the removal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, opening the door for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to send his forces to attack Kurds in the region.
The incursion spurred the U.S. to sanction Turkey with Trump writing a letter last week to Erdogan imploring him not to be a “tough guy” or a “fool.” Erdogan reportedly threw the letter in the trash.
Earlier, Trump threatened Turkey in a statement on Twitter.
U.S. authorities had been pursuing a criminal case against the bank for at least a year, seeking to impose a massive financial penalty for its role in the scheme. But the case idled for months amid diplomatic wrangling until the charges were filed along with other sanctions last week.
Read more on the charges here
Federal prosecutors with the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office have now deemed Halkbank a “fugitive,” and told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman they may seek contempt sanctions if the bank fails to respond to renewed demands for its presence in court. Halkbank has no employees or offices in the U.S., though it does have a correspondent bank account and shares that are listed and traded as American depositary receipts in U.S. markets.
The judge said he would consider the request but also said he wanted to give the bank two weeks to review the matter and reconsider its position.
If Turkey’s current position on the issue is any indication, it may take more than two weeks: on Monday, it named a former Halkbank executive who was convicted in a U.S. trial over the sanctions scheme as the new chief executive of the Istanbul stock exchange. The executive, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, was released from U.S. custody in July. In making the appointment, Turkish finance minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdogan’s son-in-law, said Atilla was the victim of an “unjust conviction.”
(Corrects bank’s name in second paragraph)
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WASHINGTON — The Taliban have wanted the United States to pull troops out of Afghanistan, Turkey has wanted the Americans out of northern Syria, and North Korea has wanted them to at least stop military exercises with South Korea.
President Donald Trump has now to some extent at least obliged all three — but without getting much of anything in return. The self-styled dealmaker has given up the leverage of the United States’ military presence in multiple places around the world without negotiating concessions from those cheering for U.S. forces to leave.
For a president who has repeatedly promised to end the “endless wars,” the decisions reflect a broader conviction that bringing troops home — or at least moving them out of hot spots — is more important than haggling for advantage. In his view, decades of overseas military adventurism has only cost the country enormous blood and treasure, and waiting for deals would prolong a national disaster.
But veteran diplomats, foreign policy experts and key lawmakers fear that Trump is squandering U.S. power and influence in the world with little to show for it. By pulling troops out unilaterally, they argue, Trump has emboldened America’s enemies and distressed its allies. Friends like Israel, they note, worry about U.S. staying power. Foes like North Korea and the Taliban learn that they can achieve their goals without having to pay a price.
“It’s hard for me to divine any real strategic logic to the president’s moves,” said John P. Hannah, a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. “The only real connective tissue I see is the almost preternatural isolationist impulse that he invariably seems to revert to when left to his own devices internationally — even to the point that it overrides his supposed deal-making instincts.”
Reuben E. Brigety II, a former Navy officer and ambassador to the African Union under President Barack Obama who now serves as dean of the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University, said just as worrisome as the decisions themselves was the seemingly capricious way they were made.
Trump, he said, often seems more interested in pleasing autocrats like Kim Jong Un of North Korea and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey than in organizing any kind of coherent policymaking process to consider the pros and cons.
WASHINGTON — The top U.S. emissary to Ukraine painted a devastating portrait in testimony Tuesday on Capitol Hill of what appeared to be White House-directed efforts to pressure the government in Kiev to investigate a Democratic political rival.
American diplomacy was conducted along two “channels,” according to William B. Taylor Jr., the senior U.S. diplomat to Ukraine. As Taylor explained to congressional investigators on Tuesday, one was the “regular, formal” channel, which included “the bulk of the U.S. effort to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion” that has been a persistent threat for a half-decade.
It is the other, “irregular, informal” channel that is of interest to members of Congress.
Guided by Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now a personal lawyer for President Trump, the irregular efforts described by Taylor were intended to force the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that has been accused of corrupt practices. He no longer has any ties to Burisma, but his father is running for president, and some of President Trump’s allies see Hunter Biden’s business dealings as potentially damaging to the former vice president — and therefore helpful to Trump’s chances of winning reelection next year.
Democrats, for their part, have opened an impeachment inquiry into efforts by Trump and Giuliani to exert pressure on Ukraine to launch an investigation into Biden.
Right around the time that Taylor prepared to testify in a closed-door hearing room on Capitol Hill, Trump attempted to cast himself as the victim of a “lynching.” But using the language of racist violence appeared to quickly backfire, with even some Republicans denouncing him. In one poignant rebuke, Michael Steele, the first and only African-American head of the Republican National Committee, tweeted the photo of a lynched black man hanging from a tree.
“It’s pathetic that you act like you’re such a victim,” Steele wrote. “You should know better.”
WASHINGTON — Just 10 days before a key meeting on Ukraine, President Donald Trump met, over the objections of his national security adviser, with one of the former Soviet republic’s most virulent critics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and heard a sharp assessment that bolstered his hostility toward the country, according to several people informed about the situation.
Trump’s conversation with Orban on May 13 exposed him to a harsh indictment of Ukraine at a time when his personal lawyer was pressing the new government in Kyiv to provide damaging information about Democrats. Trump’s suspicious view of Ukraine set the stage for events that led to the impeachment inquiry against him.
The visit by Orban, who is seen as an autocrat who has rolled back democracy, provoked a sharp dispute within the White House. John Bolton, then the president’s national security adviser, and Fiona Hill, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, opposed a White House invitation for the Hungarian leader, according to the people briefed on the matter. But they were outmaneuvered by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who supported such a meeting.
As a result, Trump at a critical moment in the Ukraine saga sat down in the Oval Office with a European leader with a fiercely negative outlook on Ukraine that fortified opinions he had heard from his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and from President Vladimir Putin of Russia repeatedly over the months and years.
Echoing Putin’s view, Orban has publicly accused Ukraine of oppressing its Hungarian minority and has cast his eye on a section of Ukraine with a heavy Hungarian population. His government has accused Ukraine of being “semi-fascist” and sought to block important meetings for Ukraine with the European Union and NATO.
Ten days after his meeting with Orban, Trump met on May 23 with several of his top advisers returning from the inauguration of Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The advisers, including Rick Perry, the energy secretary; Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine; and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, reassured Trump that Zelenskiy was a reformer who deserved U.S. support. But Trump expressed deep doubt, saying that Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down” during the 2016 presidential election.
Orban’s visit came up during testimony to House investigators last week by George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine policy. The meeting with Orban and a separate May 3 phone call between Trump and Putin are of intense interest to House investigators seeking to piece together the back story that led to the president’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.
Kent testified behind closed doors that another government official had held the two episodes up to him as part of an explanation for Trump’s darkening views of Zelenskiy last spring, according to a person familiar with his testimony. A third factor cited to him was Giuliani’s influence.
Kent did not have firsthand knowledge of either discussion, and it was not clear if the person who cited them did either. But two other people briefed on the matter said in interviews that Orban used the opportunity to disparage Ukraine with the president. The Washington Post first reported on the meeting with Orban and the call with Putin.
It would not be surprising that Putin would fill Trump’s ear with negative impressions of Ukraine or Zelenskiy. Putin has long denied that Ukraine even deserved to be a separate nation, and he sent undercover forces into Crimea in 2014 to set the stage to annex the Ukrainian territory. Putin’s government has also armed Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, fomenting a civil war that has dragged on for five years.
But allowing Orban to add his voice to that chorus set off a fight inside the West Wing. Bolton and Hill believed that Orban did not deserve the honor of an Oval Office visit, which would be seen as a huge political coup for an autocratic leader ostracized by many of his peers in Europe.
Mulvaney, however, had come to respect Orban from his time as a member of Congress and his involvement with the International Catholic Legislators Network, according to an administration official close to the acting chief of staff. Orban has positioned himself as a champion of Christians in the Middle East, a position that earned him Mulvaney’s admiration, the official said.
Another official pushing for the Orban visit was David B. Cornstein, the United States ambassador to Hungary, who sidestepped the State Department to help set up a White House meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter. An 81-year-old jewelry magnate and longtime friend of Trump’s, Cornstein told The Atlantic this year that the president envied Orban. “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t,” Cornstein said.
The Oval Office meeting with Trump took place just four days after Giuliani told The New York Times that he would travel to Ukraine to seek information that would be “very, very helpful to my client” and three days after Giuliani canceled the trip in response to the resulting criticism.
In moves that have disturbed democracy advocates and many U.S. and European officials, Orban’s government has targeted nongovernmental organizations, brought most of the news media under control of his allies, undermined the independent judiciary, altered the electoral process to favor his party and sought to drive out of the country an American-chartered university founded by billionaire George Soros.
Orban’s government has pressured Ukraine over what it says is discrimination and violence against ethnic Hungarians living in the western part of the country.
Orban’s efforts to undermine Ukraine in Europe drew enough concern among U.S. officials that Volker, while the State Department special envoy, visited Budapest and other places to meet with Hungarian officials to encourage them to talk with their counterparts in Kyiv to resolve their differences.
Mulvaney’s role in facilitating Orban’s visit adds to the picture of the acting chief of staff’s role in the Ukraine situation. It was Mulvaney who conveyed Trump’s order suspending $391 million in U.S. assistance to Ukraine at the same time the president was trying to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
At a briefing last week, Mulvaney denied that the aid was held up to force Ukraine to investigate Biden but confirmed that one reason it was frozen was to make sure Ukraine investigated any involvement with Democrats in the 2016 presidential campaign. After a resulting furor, Mulvaney then sought to take back his comments, denying any quid pro quo.
Bolton and Mulvaney also clashed when it became clear Mulvaney was facilitating Sondland’s role in pressing Ukraine. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill, according to her testimony to House investigators.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
© 2019 The New York Times Company
(Washington, D.C.) – When confronted with a swarming drone attack, defenders need to operate with the understanding that each mini-drone could itself be an incoming explosive, a surveillance “node” for a larger weapons system or even an electronic warfare weapon intended to disrupt vital command and control systems.
Defenders under drone attack from medium and large drones need to recognize that the attacking platform can be poised to launch missiles or find targets for long-range ground based missiles, air assets or even approaching forces. Modern technology enables drones to use high-resolution sensors and targeting systems to both find and attack targets at very long ranges, thus compounding the threat. Drones can increasingly operate with less and less human intervention and be programmed to enter enemy airspace, crossing into well-defended areas with decreased risk. Many of them can now fire weapons with little human intervention, due to technical advances in autonomy.
For instance, should an Army armored convoy be “moving-to-contact” with an enemy, consisting of heavy, medium and light combat vehicles supported by dismounted infantry – they might be vulnerable to a fast -emerging drone attack from multiple angles. It might even be an extremely sudden attack emerging from an obscured location such as behind a mountain. Many counter-drone systems now under development by the Army and its industry partners such as Raytheon, are engineered to address this kind of circumstance; they are designed to use new applications to destroy, jam or disable attacking drone swarms as well as medium and even large-scale unmanned systems.
Not only are attack drones easily purchasable on the commercial market, but they are rapidly becoming more and more advanced given the lightning speed at which technology is now advancing. Video can be gathered with much higher fidelity at longer ranges, navigational systems can more accurately merge with sensors and targeting technologies and larger numbers of drones can increasingly operate in tandem – in a more coordinated fashion. Battery technology, to cite another example, is progressing so quickly that drones are increasing dwell time over targets, complicating any effort to defend against them.
BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country, Iraq’s military said Tuesday as American forces continued to pull out of northern Syria after Turkey’s invasion of the border region.
The statement appears to contradict U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who has said that under the current plan, all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military would continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence in the region.
On Tuesday, Esper said he plans to talk to Iraqi leaders to work out details about the U.S. plan to send American troops withdrawing from Syria to Iraq, adding that the U.S. has no plans to have those troops stay in Iraq „interminably.”
Speaking to reporters at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, Esper said he’ll have a discussion with the Iraqi defense minister on Wednesday. He said the aim is to pull U.S. soldiers out and „eventually get them home.”
President Donald Trump ordered the bulk of U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear in a phone call that his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers terrorists.
The pullout largely abandons the Syrian Kurdish allies who have fought the Islamic State group alongside U.S. troops for several years. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops will remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf.
Angered at feeling betrayed, some residents in areas populated predominantly by Kurds in both Syria and Iraq have pelted the withdrawing troops. On Monday, a U.S. convoy that was driving down an avenue in the Kurdish-dominated city of Qamishly was pelted with potatoes.
„Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic at the vehicles.
Near the Iraqi city of Irbil, a small group of young men threw stones at a convoy of U.S. armored vehicles, shouting obscenities as it drove down a main highway, according to a video circulating online.
In a statement, the Iraqi Kurdish regional government said the positive role played by U.S.-led coalition forces in northern Iraq, protecting and assisting its residents, should not be confused with an „unpopular political decision” that has been taken — a reference to Trump’s sudden move to withdraw troops from Syria.
An Iraqi official said his government has told the Americans that they will allow the U.S. forces to pass through, but not to stay.
„They understood that and will clarify that” in the next hours, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity
The number of American forces in Iraq has remained small due to political sensitivities in the country, after years of what some Iraqis consider U.S. occupation during the war that began in 2003. It is a potentially explosive issue.
The U.S. currently has more than 5,000 American forces in Iraq, under an agreement between the two countries. The U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraq in 2011 when combat operations there ended, but they went back in after IS began to take over large swaths of the country in 2014.
After the Iraqi government announced victory against IS in 2017, calls for an American troop withdrawal increased amid concers about America’s long-term intentions, particularly after it withdraws its troops from Syria.
Earlier this year, Trump angered Iraqi politicians and Iranian-backed factions by arguing he would keep U.S. troops in Iraq and use it as a base to strike Islamic State group targets inside Syria as needed. In February, he infuriated Iraqi leaders when he said U.S. troops should stay in Iraq to monitor neighboring Iran.
Earlier this week, Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. But he said those details will be worked out over time.
His comments were the first to specifically lay out where American troops will go as they leave Syria and what the counter-IS fight could look like. Esper said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the estimated 1,000 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.
The statement by the Iraqi military, however, said that all American troops that withdrew from Syria have permission to enter northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, and then from there to be relocated out of Iraq.
„These forces do not have any approval to remain in Iraq,” it said. The statement did not specify a time limit for how long the troops can stay there.
Meanwhile, U.S. troops continued to pull out of northern Syria. Reports of sporadic clashes have continued between Turkish-backed fighters and the U.S.-allied Syria Kurdish forces despite a five-day cease-fire agreement hammered out on Thursday between U.S. and Turkish leaders. The cease-fire expires Tuesday night.
Esper has said the troops going into Iraq will have two missions.
„One is to help defend Iraq and two is to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group. „Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.”
Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Saudi Arabia contributed to this report.
Seattle’s public-school district has proposed a new math curriculum that would teach its students all about how math has been “appropriated” — and how it “continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities.”
A draft of the curriculum, which was covered in an article in Education Week, would teach students how to “explain how math and technology and/or science are connected and how technology and/or science have (sic) been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” as well as to “identify and teach others about mathematicians* of color in their various communities: schools, neighborhoods, places of worship, businesses, etc.”
Education Week reports:
If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum. Tracy Castro-Gill, Seattle’s ethnic studies director, said her team hopes to have frameworks completed in all subjects by June for board approval.
If the frameworks are approved, teachers would be expected to incorporate those ideas and questions into the math they teach beginning next fall, Castro-Gill said. No districtwide—or mandated—math/ethnic studies curriculum is planned, but groups of teachers are working with representatives of local community organizations to write instructional units for teachers to use if they wish, she said.
As strange as it may sound, this proposed curriculum is not the first time that someone has argued for teaching math in this way. In fact, in 2017, an online course developed by Teach for America — titled “Teaching Social Justice Through Secondary Mathematics” — instructed how to teach their students how “math has been used as a dehumanizing tool.” Also in 2017, a University of Illinois math-education professor detailed what she saw as some of the more racist aspects of math, claiming that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.”
I wrote columns about both of these stories that year — and, at the time, most people likely saw them simply as examples of “fringe” beliefs, confined to only super-progressive, ultra-woke circles. With the announcement of this Seattle proposal, however, we can no longer reassure ourselves that this is the case. Now, the social-justice approach to teaching math has officially entered the mainstream (and taxpayer-funded!) arena.
This concerns me, and, believe it or not, that’s actually not because I despise “people and communities of color.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite: It’s because this approach to teaching math will only end up harming the very groups it claims it champions. As The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher notes:
The young people who are going to learn real math are those whose parents can afford to put them in private schools. The public school kids of all races are going to get dumber and dumber.
Guess what? Minority students are far more likely to attend public school than whites. In fact, according to Private School Review, “[t]he average percent of minority students in private schools is approximately 28 percent.”
In other words? The minority students, the members of the very groups that this curriculum presumably aims to aid, are actually going to be learning less math than they would have without it — because they will be spending some of that class time learning about how math’s racism has hurt them. Ironically, one of the curriculum’s goals is to teach students how to “critique systems of power that deny access to mathematical knowledge to people and communities of color,” and yet, that’s exactly what the district itself would be doing with it.
The historical contributions of communities of color are important, and students should study them. A better place to study them, though, would (quite obviously) be a history class, not a mathematics one. Mathematics classes should be for mathematics lessons; this is especially important considering the fact that math is exactly where American students (of all races) struggle compared to students in other countries. In fact, according to a Pew Research study from 2017, American students ranked 38th out of 71 countries in the subject. If we want to fix this, we need to focus more on math, instead of looking for ways to teach less of it in the very classes where our students are supposed to be learning it.
The bottom line is: If Seattle’s school district really wants to help minority students excel in mathematics, the last thing it should be doing is proposing a math curriculum that would teach less of it in the schools that they’re most likely to attend.