Indoctrination by the numbers

Your public school officials’ thought processes on display:

Angry parents called for an apology after a Georgia elementary school set a math assignment that used questions about slavery and beatings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Parents of third grade students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Norcross, were outraged after their children brought home a math worksheet featuring questions such as “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

They were also asked, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

Christopher Braxton, whose eight-year-old son was given the worksheet, told WSB-TV he was “furious” when he read the homework.

“Something like this shouldn’t be imbedded into a kid of the third, fourth, fifth, any grade,” another parent, Terrance Barnett, added. “I’m having to explain to my eight year old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem. That hurts.”

School officials have floated the excuse that teachers were just trying to incorporate history into the math lessons. Riiigghhtt. Here’s an idea for our clearly sense-challenged Elementary School teachers: how about you teach history in history class and teach math in math class. The entire point of elementary education is to instruct the students in the basics of the subject in question. By mixing history and math – and what’s next, chemistry during penmanship? – you dilute and confuse both subjects.

But, seriously, is anyone buying that “explanation?” In 3rd grade, students aren’t learning any serious history and they lack the vocabulary and other foundations to even discuss the matter of slavery, let alone grasp its true significance and origins. No, these teachers did this precisely to get the kids to ask their parents about it – or set up the question for themselves the next day so they can start indocrinating the kids into their viewpoints on history in each and every book and subject they open.

It’s crap, plain and simple. The teachers at those low grade levels should be teaching the basics, and that means just the facts of the subject at hand. Math should be about math and nothing else. History about history, science about science and that is that. If they can’t see their way clear to stay focused, then perhaps teaching isn’t the career path for them.



  1. That’s not how learning works best. You get the most effective learning from cross-disciplinary education, exactly like the school officials said they were trying to do.

    HOWEVER… I am appalled that *anyone*, in any state, would think this was a good idea. There are so many better ways to integrate these subjects that don’t come anywhere near this! All the school’s teachers did here was to place the concept of slavery into a more neutral context, and it does not belong there. Frankly, I don’t think it’s an appropriate subject for 3rd graders, at least not in any depth. Mention it, perhaps, in the context of “this was a terrible thing”, and move on. But definitely not as a adjunct ot teaching anything, much less math.

    You were a touch softer on this than I would be. I’d be calling for disciplinary action for all of the officials, teachers and otherwise, who were involved in the decision, planning, and execution of this line of instruction. This was just abysmal judgement on their part.

  2. We agree. I think it not only put the topic in a lighter tone than it deserves but that 3rd graders simply lack the tools to grasp the depth of the wrongness of it all.

    Thanks for weighing in!

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