Teacher on Leave After 'Gross' Slavery Assignment

Worksheet at Texas charter school asked students to list both negative and positive aspects of slavery
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2018 9:57 AM CDT
Teacher on Leave After 'Gross' Slavery Assignment
Livar's son was "distraught" at his history assignment.   (Getty Images/maroke)

When Roberto Livar's wife picked up their son Wednesday from Great Hearts Monte Vista charter school in San Antonio, Texas, the 8th-grader was "distraught" over an assignment in history class, Livar tells KABB. The worksheet he completed was entitled "The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View," per WMUR, with two empty columns for students to fill in: one labeled "Negative Aspects," the other "Positive Aspects" (Livar's son crammed all the cons in the former and wrote "N/A" in the latter). "What the hell is this revisionist history lesson trying to achieve here?!?," Livar wrote on Facebook, with a photo of the worksheet. "What positives??? This is unacceptable and gross." Among those in agreement: Rep. Joaquin Castro, who tweeted the assignment was "absolutely unacceptable" and noted the teacher was working from a text by publishing giant Pearson.

Pearson, however, says in a statement to Newsweek the worksheet didn't come from its book, Prentice Hall Classics: A History of the United States, and that "we ... strongly condemn the implication that there was any positive aspect to slavery." On Facebook, the school addressed the matter, saying the assignment was "very inappropriate and entirely inconsistent with Great Hearts philosophy and culture." "To be clear, there is no debate about slavery," the statement added. "It is immoral and a crime against humanity." It went on to note that only this particular teacher had used the worksheet, that the teacher has been placed on leave during the fact-gathering process, and that the school would review the text and dump it if it's found to be "imprudent." A "follow-up communication" is set for May 9. (A New Jersey school held a mock slave auction.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.