Social Studies

Math Problems Using Slavery Upset Families in Georgia School

By Erik W. Robelen — January 09, 2012 1 min read
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File this under: What were they thinking? In fact, I’m still having a hard time believing this actually happened. But apparently it did.

As reported by ABC News (and other news outlets), students at an elementary school in Norcross, Ga., were given some math questions on a worksheet that (not surprisingly) outraged parents.

One says, “Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 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?”

Christopher Braxton told ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta that he couldn’t believe the assignment his 8-year-old son brought home from Beaver Ridge Elementary School.

“It kind of blew me away,” Braxton said. “Do you see what I see? Do you really see what I see? He’s not answering this question.”

School district officials told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that teachers were attempting to incorporate history into their 3rd grade math lessons.

“Clearly, they did not do as good of a job as they should have done,” district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Roach said the school’s principal was collecting the assignments so they wouldn’t be circulated, and that the principal was working with teachers to develop more appropriate lessons. She told the Journal-Constitution that the teachers were not intentionally trying to offend the students with the questions on slavery.

“It was just a poorly written question,” Roach said.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.