A girl doing homework.My daughter is too young yet for tests and homework, but she gets a daily sheet from day care outlining her day and she comes home loaded down with various art projects she completed in her class. I make a point of looking at everything she brings home with her. And it seems this is a good habit for me to get into seeing as one Georgia elementary school is in big trouble for the content of a third-grade math homework assignment.
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Some observant parents noticed some startling questions on their children's work last week. The subject: slavery, beatings, and cotton-picking. According the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, four third-grade classrooms at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Gwinnett County were given math problems that featured these questions:
- Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?
- Frederick had 6 baskets filled with cotton. If each basket held 5 pounds, how many pounds did he have all together?
- If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week? 2 weeks?
According to the newspaper, under the county's policy, the content should have been reviewed before it was distributed to students, but the teacher who wrote the questions failed to follow protocol. However, a report by WSB-TV in Atlanta says that while only one teacher wrote the questions, as many as nine different teachers may have seen the content before handing out the assignment. Not one of them spoke up about the inappropriateness of the questions.
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This morning, parents and community leaders held a protest at the school, and the NAACP is calling for the firing of all teachers involved. As for a response from the school district and the principal of Beaver Ridge Elementary, they're keeping quiet until a full investigation can be launched. The spokesperson for the school district did state that the teacher was trying to use subject matter the children had been studying in their social study classes as a type of cross-curriculum. But parents are outraged (as they should be), as no context was given to tie the two lessons together.
Do you think these questions are unfit for third-graders? Have you ever seen questionable content on your child's school work? Let me know in the comments below.
This post was written by Ryan Johnson.
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