Parents Incensed Over Slavery Word Problems

It was 'a poorly written question,' concedes spokesperson

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2012 2:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Out of Georgia, an example of cross-curricular lesson-planning gone horribly wrong: Parents were furious when their third-graders came home with math homework asking about slavery and beatings. Read one problem, "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" And another: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?" District officials say in the future, the Beaver Ridge Elementary School principal will work directly with teachers to develop more appropriate questions. Still, "I'm having to explain to my 8-year-old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem," fumes one parent. "That hurts."

"Clearly, they did not do as good of a job as they should have done" with incorporating history lessons into math, a district spokeswoman says. "It was just a poorly written question." Parents brought the homework to the attention of officials, and a vice principal is shredding the assignments to make sure they aren't passed out again, WSBTV reports. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that minorities make up the majority of students at the school, and adds that some parents are calling for diversity training for staff.

Parents in Georgia were not happy with the word problems their third-graders came home with.   (Shutterstock)
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