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GCPS probes homework assignments on slavery

NORCROSS -- Gwinnett County schools officials are investigating whether to discipline teachers who gave third-grade students math homework with word problems about slavery, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The district is working with the school's principal to address the problem after parents called last week upset over the worksheets, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said. She said the district wants to "ensure that this does not happen again."

"These particular questions were an attempt at incorporating some of what students had been discussing in social studies with their math activity," Roach said in a prepared statement.

The NAACP has called for the firing of the nine teachers who sent home the questions and any other staff involved in the homework.

"I refuse to believe the teacher or teachers responsible for allowing it to go forward did not understand fully what they were doing. We need to understand how deep this is," said state NAACP president Ed DuBose said.

One of the math problems reads: "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Another was: "If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

District officials say one teacher wrote the questions, but the rest of the third-grade teachers used the handout for their classes.

"Who would think of such questions to ask third-grade children?" parent Nichole Thompson told WSB-TV. "I definitely want an apology. I want them to acknowledge that not only was this bad judgment on their behalf, but we need to do better."

Comments

news2me 2 years, 3 months ago

NINE teachers sent home these questions. GCPS needs to punish the administrator or AP that was over them for not doing his or her job as well.

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micronmike 2 years, 3 months ago

What does the AP have to do with it?

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gregmack 2 years, 3 months ago

There are certain issues that we should consider sacred or even untouchable. For example, we should not joke about rape, murder, domestic abuse or suicide. And because of the history in this country, we have to be careful how we address slavery. As it is for anyone who has experienced rape, murder, domestic abuse or suicide either personally or via family or friend, you do not overcome the experience immediately and for many, ever. The same holds true for slavery. There are some individuals, families and communities still dealing with the issue of American Slavery even over 100 years later. Legal Slavery made have ended in the 1860's but the consequences are still experienced to this day. And for those who would say get over it - just keep living and you may soon understand the truth of the matter from your own possible negative experience. In the spirit of MLK. Jr if we are to truly overcome, it has to start some day and each day we continue to mishandle this issue is another day delayed to overcome because when a movie is made say 25 years from now, history will show that the issue was still alive in 2012.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

African-Americans have complained about disparitive treatment of our kids in Gwinnett County only to be met with the save-all "Race Card" defense. Thanks to this story for showing the world that there are several levels of service as far as education is concerned.

And @ news2me, the fact that nine teachers had knowledge, and no one made an attempt to change the lesson suggests an underlying systemic problem.

"Gwinnett Is Great - Sucess Lives Here"

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micronmike 2 years, 3 months ago

Honestly, I understand the disgust with the group of nine, however as a fellow teacher only one is to blame. He or she was responsible for creating math homework for the rest, the other teachers did not even see it. The homework was given out by one teacher to students in nine rooms. I never ask my students to show me the homework another teacher assigns to them.

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jack 2 years, 3 months ago

If we just had more money to spend on education, then...............ah, never mind.

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EnidAn 2 years, 3 months ago

No surprise this happened in Gwinnett County Schools. After all, this is the same school system who saw it fit to slam a mother of 4 on the ground and haul her off to jail last year. I didn't forget that one. And yes, we can blame it on her, she was trespassing on school property where she has a child in attendance, but still, I have to wonder about the people we entrust our children's safety & education.

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

Low class behavior begets appropriate results. A mother of 100 who acts so low class deserves to be hauled off. Keep her out of our schools. Yes. Trespassing on MY child's school...acting like a fool.

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kevin 2 years, 3 months ago

If they were discussing slavery in social studies, then this is not an issue. Are we now not supposed to discuss slavery in our history classes? Maybe we should take this a step further and drop talking about African-Americans altogether. By the way, most are actually American Africans. They were born here.

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R 2 years, 3 months ago

How many beatings? Really? This seemed like a good idea?

How many administrator openings will be created? How many PHDs does it take …

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

@kevin, I going to do you a favor and give you some attention. You speak bold now because we are talking about African-Americans and Hispanics. But should it happen to your victimized group, then the world will have to stop.

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news2me 2 years, 3 months ago

Bruce won't be happy until we all agree with him 110% on every point. We are all racists in the eyes of Bruce!

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

No news2me, I know better than to say all white folks, in particular, are racist. Conversely, I teach my kids that every black man or woman is not your friend, treat people on an individual basis. I was trying to examine an organizational problem, guess you thought I was being uppity. Ha ha. I don't remember calling you a racist either, I thought I was agreeing with you. But since you brought it up ?

As for everyone agreeing with me 110%, I didn't solicate your or anybody elses agreement. I gave an opinion unlike yours.

How dare I?

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

The problem with this blog is too much emotion and not enough thought. No one here really knows the motive of the teacher who wrote the questions except him/her. And no one in this blog is involved in real information/fact finding. Leave it to the HR people to do a thorough job and determine if any punishment should be given. Leave it to an investigation to determine what training needs to take place. Remember, not one of us is perfect and at times any one of us may make a misstep. God help us. It seems that too many self-righeous people are ready to end our way of making a living and supporting our families. As to Ed Dubose and his group....go back to where you came from and let GC take care of its problems. You have enough of your own. Gwinnett does not need your help. You make things much worse. Solid, caring people will work through this and to Bruce, I hope people are so much more interested in your well-being and sensitivity training and that one day you learn the joy in loving all people equally. You don't sound too much like you do.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

ssilover1, I don't see where I came off all that mad with just a few questions. You state that Gwinnett is full of solid, caring people like it's a utopia, without any regard to what anybody else's opinion of this utopia. Then, you are telling Amercians where they can go, what they can do, seriously? God help you do what? Lynch the people that don't agree with you? Where is the self-righteousness? Who said anybody was perfect? Did I say I was perfect? Stop fictionalizing. Stop deflecting from the issue? Why am I not sensitive? I bet I have a more diverse set of friends, real friends that I don't have to patronize.

A wrong has been done here. Somebody should be held accountable.

Now, did I do well? I wanted to call you out of your name, characterize your intelligence despite not really knowing but I will not.

Have a great day, Massa.

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