Parents Upset Over Slavery Examples in Ga. School Math Word Problems

Courtney Williams's picture
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Some parents and activists have blasted the Gwinnett County (Ga.) School District for its response following reports that students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School received a math worksheet that used examples of slavery in word problems, according to local and national news reports.

The problems referred to slavery and beatings, among other things, a story on Norcross Patch explains. "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" one problem read, according to the report. Another problem reportedly read: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

School district officials said the principal at Beaver Ridge Elementary School will personally work with teachers to come up with more appropriate lessons and will offer more opportunities for staff development following the uproar created by the worksheet, according to a story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the incident.

That didn’t go far enough for some parents at the school, where a majority of the students are minorities, the story reported. They called for an apology and diversity training for the teachers and district officials.

School officials say that the assignment was an attempt at "cross-ciricular" teaching, but one that was inappropriate because of the lack of historical context.

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