A “slavery word probems” math worksheet inexplicably distributed to fourth graders in a Manhattan school turned heads — and the school in which the students were given the traditional “if a train is traveling at …” work featuring casual references to the brutality of slavery has apologized for the poor judgement.
The slavery word problems math sheet seems to be a thing, as The Inquisitr reported recently on a similar racial sensitivity-related controversy recently in Georgia. Gawker reports that students at Manhattan’s P.S. 59 were given a sheet with mathematical equations on it that included:
“In a slave ship, there can be 3,799 slaves. One day, the slaves took over the ship. 1,897 are dead. How many slaves are alive?”
“One slave got whipped five times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month (31 days)? Another slave got whipped nine times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month? How many times did the two slaves get whipped together in one month?”
Offended yet? The site says student teacher Aziza Harding discovered the strange slavery word problems sheet when she was asked to make copies of it. Harding says she was horrified to discover the offensive content so casually included and says:
“I’m just like, ‘Wow, this is really inappropriate … It shouldn’t be a homework assignment, and I did not want to make copies of this.”
New York City’s Department of Education addressed the slavery word problems controversy in a statement, saying:
“This is obviously unacceptable and we will take appropriate disciplinary action against these teachers. The Chancellor spoke to the principal, and she has already taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
It appears the way the slavery word problems sheet came about was via a not-very-clear confluence of a history lesson and a math one and that children themselves may have created the math problems. However, State Senator Simcha Felder, chairman of the New York City Education Sub-Committee, said to news station NY1 in an emailed statement:
“While the city, state and unions are busy haggling over teacher evaluations, New York City’s students are being subjected to reprehensible and irresponsible educational materials. I am calling for the immediate removal of these two teachers.”
As of now, teachers involved with the slavery word problems controversy at P.S. 59 are undergoing sensitivity training.