Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Did you hear about the 3rd grade math problems in Georgia that include wording and subjects such as slavery and beatings?

Asked by JLeslie (54508points) January 9th, 2012

Here are a couple mentioned in the article:

Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?

If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?

Source

They tried to argue they are teaching history or social studies along with math. Forget that I am not in favor of combining subjects, especially combining math with other subjects, and also forget that I am not in favor of teaching slavery to elementary age students, how can anyone have ever thought these questions are ok?

I wonder if it is a new worksheet, or if they have been using it for years?

What do you think about the whole thing?

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88 Answers

6rant6's avatar

Personally, I don’t think children should be exposed to slavery and beatings until they get to calculus.

Ron_C's avatar

It seems that the further south and the further towards the right people go the more acceptable racial slurs become. I am afraid the south, especially is regressing toward pre-confederacy days. The good old days of slavery and king cotton.

Good answer @6rant6

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I think the people who wrote that question would completely disagree they are racist, they just are clueless how things come across, and are unable to put themselves in the place of the minority. (Remember things move to the left as you go very far south. At least very very far southeast.)

elbanditoroso's avatar

Let’s not go crazy about this. It happened in my county.

One teacher in one elementary school used pretty bad judgment. Her excuse was that she was trying to tie social studies and math together. She obviously didn’t think it through.

It was NOT school or system policy. It was one teacher with poor judgment.

let’s not make this into something it is not.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Ron_C – that’s simply offensive to a lot of us in Georgia. One stupid teacher does not paint the entire south as regressive.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
6rant6's avatar

It’s certainly poor judgement, whatever beliefs the teacher holds.

People make mistakes, use poor judgement all the time. When it involves issues like this, it makes the national news. When it involves misspelling the handouts, no one notices.

Uberwench's avatar

It is outrageous, but the parents are outraged. So hopefully it ends well. I’m glad to see that it was Georgian parents who protested and not Californians. It shows that, as bad as this is, it’s a personal failing that won’t be stood for.

@elbanditoroso I think @Ron_C sees this as part of a pattern. The parents’ reactions should partially disabuse him of that, but I can’t see it as being completely false that this kind of thing gets off the ground more easily in the South. And I’m from there, too (though not as far down as you are).

bkcunningham's avatar

What sort of thing gets off the ground more easily in the South, @Uberwench? I teacher trying to incorporate a history lesson with a math lesson and using poor judgement? A school district not following protocol and reviewing a handout before it was distributed to the class? A local story getting picked up by the national news? What exactly do you mean? I’m a little confused.

I didn’t see anything in the story that told what race, nationality or where the teacher is from. She/He may be from Egypt or California. I guess you are assuming it is a white teacher from Georgia.

Uberwench's avatar

@bkcunningham Read it in the context of what I was responding to. It’s much more obvious what I’m talking about if you’re not purposefully trying to be dense.

bkcunningham's avatar

What do you mean, @Uberwench? What sort of thing gets off the ground more easily in the South?

Uberwench's avatar

Open racism. Sorry to see you couldn’t trouble yourself with the context.

bkcunningham's avatar

I just wanted to make sure of what you were trying to say. I’m not so much into assuming and guessing people’s intent. Like everyone seems to be doing with the teacher who the article was about; you’re making alot of assumtions.

To further the discussion, I’m curious, since I haven’t read anything about the teacher who put together this lesson, would it still be racist if the teacher were the grandchild of a former slave?

Uberwench's avatar

@bkcunningham I’ve read several articles on the same story, so I’ve seen more details than are provided in the OP. I’m not assuming the teacher was intending to be racist. That’s part of the problem: that someone could write these questions and not see how they were inappropriate. And yes, the questions would be a problem no matter who wrote them.

flutherother's avatar

I can see the sense in attempting to combine two subjects. Real life isn’t neatly divided into disciplines either but this wasn’t properly thought through. It was an honest mistake that would have blown over only Fox News got hold of it. The media love manufacturing news by making mountains out of molehills.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I think these particular math problems would still be under fire no matter the race or nationality of the teacher, what might not have happened was the generalizations about the south if we knew the teacher was from a different place, or did not understand the racial tension in the south and the feelings still alive related to our history there. When I first heard the beating question I was not thinking race, I was thinking corporal punishment, but once I heard the teacher was trying to incorporate teaching about slavery, I guess that is about race and slavery also. And, there was a question about picking cotton, which I did not list here, which is obviously a southern crop, which back in the day was picked by black slaves. If the teacher is black, he/she is still a little out of touch with how that is going to go over. I recently asked on a Q when people thought slavery history in America should be taught. I really think Jr. high, but indeed it is taught in elementary in many places from what I understand, I don’t like it, but that would be a school system decision on a lone teacher.

You might be interested in this: Last year during black history month some cafeteria made the news. I cannot remember if it was a school, or a caf at a workplace? And, they made up a “black” menu for one week, or one day, I can’t remember in honor black history month. Think typical southern foods like black eyed peas, and maybe pork ribs, stuff like that, and people were outraged. I didn’t see a problem with it. Turned out the woman who created the menu in the cafeteria was a black woman to the surprise of the many who were so put off by the menu. Many people still thought the menu was a bad idea though.

Sunny2's avatar

Unfortunately, it reinforces the idea that the ‘South’ hasn’t moved away from the racial biases of the past. The ignorance of the teacher is unfortunate. The issue should probably have been handled more discretely.

JLeslie's avatar

@Sunny2 I wonder how the story got out? You would think people within the community would want to keep it on the QT.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@jleslie – a cynic would say that these were community organizers who hadn’t been real buys recently, so this was the “outrage of the month”.

mazingerz88's avatar

It would help if one reporter could interview the teacher who wrote the question and ask her or him to explain.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is the article about the black menu, if anyone is interested, it was NBC’s cafeteria in NY. They took down the menu once word got out about it, replacing it with grilled chicken instead of friend chicken and even the veg were changed out.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have. That teacher ain’t bright, that’s for sure.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t understand the menu controversy either, @JLeslie.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Kinda. It was my understanding the class was on slavery and the math questions were interwoven, referencing the slavery studies. It probably wouldn’t have gotten any attention at all if the math questions hadn’t have been created to tie into the history lesson- poor choice I think but I also don’t think it was done with racist or mal intent.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Do you mean you don’t understand the menu controversy, same as I thought it was not a big deal? Or, you don’t understand the controversy over the math question as well? When you wrote either I was not sure which either you are referring to.

JLeslie's avatar

This is off on a tangent I know, but I think math questions should relate to life, but not to history. I also am not keen on too many word problems for young children, which is the big push these days. Some young children are very very good mathematically, but not strong at reading comprehension, and by combining the two even the math kid feels like he can’t do anything. Just my opinion.

Brian1946's avatar

@JLeslie

“They took down the menu once word got out about it, replacing it with grilled chicken instead of friend chicken….”

I wonder why they replaced the friend chicken, because it’s usually much more agreeable than enemy chicken. ;-)

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t understand the controversy over the menu.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Thanks for clarifying.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, I see now where my statement needed to be clarified. lol I agree with you on the menu controversy, @JLeslie.

bkcunningham's avatar

I would really like someone to go into details about why the “math across the curriculum” handout is racist. @mazingerz88, I agree about interviewing the teacher. Perhaps @Uberwench could share links to the other stories that went into more detail. That might broaden my understanding of the issue.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If someone has it in their minds to be offended, then they can find offense at anything.

I could tell you that the sky is blue, and the “Grey Sky Defense League” will be out picketing my house tomorrow. Declaring ones self offended and victimized has gotten to be a national pasttime.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes, I’d heard about it….and the menu. It is outrageous at this point in history for people to feign ignorance in regards to not understanding why people would be offended.

I teach my son about slavery. I’ve never brought it up during math…nor have we focused on “beatings”. My question to the teachers would be what precisely they thought they were educating the kids on in this scenario?

Why are the teachers writing up their own word problems in the first place? Doesn’t their math curriculum include enough? (mine certainly does).

bkcunningham's avatar

My understanding is that this is part of a “math across the cirriculum” project. It has been instituted at various schools across the country. The article @JLeslie posted or the one I read from the Atlanta newspaper said the teacher was suppose to have the handouts approved beforehand and didn’t. Why that happened is anyone’s guess. It would be nice to see what the teacher says.

cazzie's avatar

I think that if kids their age were slaves, then they are not too young to learn about it. AND, I think these questions have been taken completely out of context. I can see that a teacher is trying to teach the kids about slavery and is working the all-too-real contextual concepts into each subject, including math. Just because the subject is awkward for you doesn´t mean it shouldn´t be taught. Slaves DID pick oranges and were beaten. The outrage by the parents isn’t to be praised. They should take a harder look at their own feelings on the subject and ask themselves why they are so ‘outraged’.

By the same token, I think kids in Germany should be taught about their history. Actually, that brings up a point. I bet, if taken a poll, more young American kids would know more about what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust, and more German kids would know about American slavery than they would know about their own. You see, if it happened ‘over there’ there isn’t that awkward social situation about asking what your grandpa or great grandpa did during the war or whether your family had been owned or owned slaves.

History isn’t always polite. Sometimes it smaks you in the face with horrible facts about human cruelty. Keep the horrible facts age appropriate and teach them to the kids.

JLeslie's avatar

My problem with it, why I perceive it as racist, ajd as I said above I am not assuming at all the teacher is racist, is because it is not being taught as history when it is a math problem in my opinion. The math problem makes it seem like a normal every day thing, and even worse using examples of beatings, why the hell are we talking about multiple beatings as a math problem period? The math can be taught without bringing slavery into it, and that they picked the crops. I would not want them to say 40 Jews are in each train car, there are 10 cars, 30% will be gassed within 3 hours of arrival to the camps, how many Jews will still be alive after the first 3 hours? But, if taught in history (again, I think 3rd grade is way too young) I’m fine with it. Not that the questions would be worded as a mathematical problem in history, the statistics would simply be given.

elbanditoroso's avatar

As I noted above, once the media get hold of it, and the national fund raising organizations, it takes on a life of its own.

THis is no longer about teachers and education.

This is about NAACP fund raising and trying to score political points.

http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/naacp-calls-for-firings-1296640.html

The sharks of political correctness smell chum in the water.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie they weren’t given questions about death. Just oranges and whippings. Totally age appropriate.

mazingerz88's avatar

I personally find it hard to believe that this was an innocent question designed to teach history along with a math question. Assuming it was innocent, then it’s just dumb and insensitive for a teacher to do it. One of the teachers in the school already said it was not appropriate.

cazzie's avatar

@elbanditoroso the NAACP completely has the wrong end of the stick from where I am sitting. Then again, if this paper WASN’T introduced as it was intended, as part of a whole ‘theme’ day, then, someone was being harmfully lazy.

Jeruba's avatar

Concerning the menu, not I but my tactless friend Nottie says that a whole lot of people don’t know what to be offended at, but they feel obliged to be offended at something in order to show how sensitive and right-thinking they are. Suppose we had, say, a New England history month: would it be offensive to put baked beans and steamed brown bread on the menu? or boiled lobster and steamed clams? How do you “celebrate” your culture without making reference to it? She thinks that taking offense at that menu is offensive.

bea2345's avatar

Not knowing anything about the school, I cannot assess whether or not the questions were intentionally offensive. But that they were in very poor taste, oh yes. By the way, the question about the 56 oranges was just plain silly. Did it mean, one slave per tree, in which case the answer is 56; or eight slaves to each tree? The latter case is a waste of labour: what farmer would countenance that? As for Frederick, if it were in the West Indies, then the answer would be 12, because floggings were not usually administered on Sunday.

Moegitto's avatar

I learned about slavery in third grade. Not so much as in the whippings and such, just the basic concepts. In 6th grade my school made us watch the WHOLE series of ROOTS. But other than that there wasn’t any further discussion about slavery. I’m from Washington DC, so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but I never experience any racial experience until I got stationed in Texas. That place (in my opinion) was more racist than Kentucky/Tennessee, and I always thought just stepping foot in KY/TN would get me drug from a truck. I think just like everything else, the south just refuses to give up certain traditions. I believe knowing about slavery is important to children in the way that the education system should focus on the slaves that had positive outcomes, like slaves becoming doctors and such. Focusing on the negatives of slavery only re-enforces the racial tension that we “claim” to be trying to get rid of.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Jeruba, I like your tactless friend Nottie’s way of thinking. Excellent points.

6rant6's avatar

I remember reading about a small dispute at UC Berkley when recycling was new. Two bins were set up for paper, one labeled, “white”, the other “colored.” Someone crossed out the original labels and put in new ones. After a couple of trials, they settled on “bleached” and “unbleached.” Apparently, inaccurate was preferred to offensive.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@6rant6 – that is so stereotypically a Californian response….

bkcunningham's avatar

This kind of thing gets off the ground more easily in California, @6rant6.

mrrich724's avatar

Responses should have been closed for this topic after the very first one, b/c that was ABSOLUTELY the best response that could possibly be given for this question, and why keep trying once perfection is reached. LOL

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t have a problem with kids learning about slavery. I do have a problem with this being a math question, and not a question in a social studies or English class where it can be properly discussed.

@Jeruba New England is a place, black is a race. Southern (America) would be comparable to New England in this case, not black people.

6rant6's avatar

@elbanditoroso & @bkcunningham I agree. It’s different in the South where they just call everyone an asshat and buy more guns.

bkcunningham's avatar

Just more ammo, @6rant6. We don’t need any more guns.

Jeruba's avatar

Nottie asks what kind of food you’d expect to find at a Chinese restaurant or an Indian buffet, and would you call that stereotyping? Black may be a race, but Southern black is a culture. It’s not as if that were an African menu.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Right now I can hardly stand reading this discussion. I live in the “deep south” and have been accused of being a person who “just calls everyone an asshat and buys more guns” and other various things. I’m not like that, so don’t be so quick in making blanket statements.

But here’s my opinion:

The math questions weren’t exactly good idea. Putting them in that format seems to convey a sense of acceptability to the statements made in the math question. Slavery, of course, is no longer acceptable. I am sure that the makers of the question did not intend this, but that is how it is interpreted, and they should have been able to prevent this.

Regarding the idea of teaching slavery to elementary students, I believe that it is important for any group of people to be aware of the truth behind their history. Slavery, for better or worse, is one of the absolutely most pivotal events in the history of the South. Yeah, I know, nobody likes slavery, but that is what actually happened here, regardless of how terrible it was. There is no way you can claim to teach the history of the South and just leave out a couple hundred year long event that displaced and stole the freedom from hundreds of thousands of Africans.

filmfann's avatar

The teachers involved in this should be horsewhipped in public, just for being dumb asses.

JLeslie's avatar

@PhiNotPi You are saying what I was trying to say about the math equation. In that format it conveys acceptability, exactly. I still don’t see why 7/8 year olds need to learn about slavery. Why? Why that young? What is positive about it? I wonder when they learn about the holocaust? Or, when do schools teach about 9/11 and that terrorists who hate Americans and America and crashed planes into buildings? Those children learning about slavery in 6th or 7th grade will still mean they learned about slavery, but I think let them not be very aware that in history black people were treated like a subclass and even beaten and lynched. Well, I don’t know if they teach about the lynchings in third grade, that would go to my example of the ovens that @cazzie didn’t like. I don’t see how teaching a little black girl that 100 years ago she was enslaved by the great grandparents of the little boy sitting next to her is going to raise her self esteem. Becoming aware of racism and that people will want to hate, hurt, even murder you just because you have dark skin, or are a different religion, or any difference you can think of is not good for such little children in my opinion.

Moegitto's avatar

@JLeslie The sad truth about this country is that education is forced in our younger years. You don’t get to choose anything until 10th grade really. This leaves the government to choose what they think is appropriate. This also leads to area segregation, a school in Pasadena California is taught differently than a school in Brooklyn New York. That’s why the education level is so varied across the country.

@PhiNotPi Sorry you have to be the good apple in the bottom of the bad apple bin, but there’s an old saying. A left eye can only see left and a right eye can only see right. It relates to you perfectly. You see the south for it’s positive traits (left eye) while most people from different regions see the south in a negative light (right eye). I’m from up north and I love the south (I’m in Tennessee right now in school). Friendlier people, lower cost of living, no stoplight mazes.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JLeslie Well, 4th grade was when I learned about The Racism (Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which entailed a talk about how black people were slaves and then they weren’t and the n word is bad and don’t say it). So this isn’t new. And I’m kinda thinking there’s a really good chance that little black girl already knows her great grandparents were slaves, whether we teach it in a classroom or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto I don’t want a child to get to choose whether they learn about slavery, I want them to learn about it period. Just after the age of 10. I was at the library he in Memphis a month ago and they had an exhibit about antisemitism and racism. When I was there many groups of school children were being taken through. I watched a short movie as they watched about Billings, Montana one holiday season back in the early 80’s where a hate group through a brick through the bedroom window of a young Jewish child, the house had a menorah in the window. Anyway, the group said they want to get rid of all the Jews and whoever else they were hating at the time, I don’t remember the whole thing, probably blacks, Hispanics, you name it. Anyway, the local paper heard about it, wrote a story and printed full page menorahs and asked citizens to put the picure in their windows to stand in solidarity. Something like 10,000 citizens did it.

After the film clip a teacher asked these high school students why it was important to help the Jews would they help someone they didn’t necessarily identify with? The entire group of kids were black girls, about 16 of them. The teacher asked, “what if the people being discriminated against were atheists, or Hispanic, would you help them?” Finally after several ways of asking the question on girls said, “we should put ourselves in their shoes.” Honestly, for black kids not to understand that they could be next, in a somewhat racially devided place like Memphis? I find that sort of shocking. Even if they never would do it themselves, they should at least know why it is the right thing to do. Shouldn’t they? And, they do learn about slavery here for sure. And, I bet they have been to the Civil Rights museum at least once here, and the cotton museum here has a lot about slavery too. But, maybe they were just being stupid teenagers. Anyway, my point is I want them to have to learn about it.

Moegitto's avatar

@JLeslie I see where your coming from, but I think your missing my point. The children wouldn’t choose slavery, they would choose SOMETHING ELSE. The slavery topic is being forced on them, so allow them to choose another social studies. I went to the National Holocaust Museum when I was about 13. If you think children shouldn’t learn about slavery until a certain age, what do you think about the Holocaust?

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto The holocaust is exactly the same to me. I learned about it in Jr. High and that was soon enough. I heard my family make references to it, but didn’t have a real grasp until it was taught to me in school over several days. As a very little girl I knew I was Jewish and other kids were other things, but it was never a thing among us kids, we each were different things. Jewish, Christian, Italian, black, etc. As I got older I began to think more like a minority, have more fear related to it. Not that I walked around in fear all day, but the hatred was real to me, a real possibility, and that some people would even try to murder me. When I was/am in a synagogue I think if they want to get a bunch of us here we are, a bunch in one place. When I took my husband’s very Jewish middle eastern last name I actually said out loud, “well if the plane is hijacked I am probably one of the first to die.” I was married in ‘93, way before 911, but hijacked Israeli planes were a real thing to me. Not that I ever had been to Israel, but I had a sense that hijackings in general, on an airline of whatever country were done by Arabs predominently, and the hijackers are not very happy with Jews generally.

I don’t want a 7 year old worrying about that crap. Their little psyches should hopefully see the world as a good place with love, equality, and hopefully a basic lack of violence and hate.

I still wonder when the holocaust is taught? If it is treated differntly? It might be for several reasons. One obvious one is it isn’t American history.

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto People need to know history so it doesn’t repeat itself. I know it is cliché, but I believe it is true. However, it is interesing to wonder if we stopped teaching about slavery altogether in the US how things might change or not change.

Moegitto's avatar

@JLeslie There’s a study on “inherited evil”. It was a test to see if the offspring of “less fortunate” people would turn out the same way. The results were that the children turned out almost the opposite from what their parents were. The test showed that it wasn’t so much of what a child is taught at home that molds them, but what they learn at school. This study snowballed into studies into bullying, social separation (cool kid syndrome), and drug use. Peer pressure is what molds us, regardless how strong willed people are, some of us cave in to peer pressure. One man casts the stone and then the whole town follows. History will continue to roll over itself because people live in the past. One culture remembers being slaves and one culture remembers being slave drivers.I remember sitting on the metro, and an old black man and a slightly younger white man were talking about a latin man siting in the middle of the bus. Then, all of a sudden the black man snapped on the white man reminding him that white people weren’t too friendly towards blacks. I can guarantee there’s no one alive to this day that was a slave or slave owner 400 years ago, but there’s still that residual hate because people are learning it from someone. The schools aren’t the ones to blame for teaching about slavery early, it’s the Government. My mom was a teacher, so I found out how the school system worked early in life. The principle gives a planned curriculum to the board, and if they approve that’s what’s taught. If they want to add some things they do. Stuff like homework and class assignments are all on the teachers, but the course subject matter is board driven. There’s gonna be a stigmata about learning about slavery because some parents want to avoid the subject while some parents want their kids learning about “Harriet Tubman” and the such. I’m my culture, you won’t get to 5th grade without learning about atleast one slave, and that’s important to us. Somethings weren’t meant to be. A math question involving slaves is wrong, but learning about slaves isn’t.

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto Your last sentence, A math question involving slaves is wrong, but learning about slaves isn’t are you agreeing with that, or saying neither are ok? I agree the math question is not ok, that is what I said all along on this Q.

The study you mention is interesting, and it further proves to me that at a very young age slavery should not be taught. I guess you are arguing it should not be taught at all. Of course it is the governmemt, mostly local government, that comes up with curriculum decisions, but that is heavily influenced by the parents in the community. I personally want more federal government influence on education.

I don’t really remember when I learned about the underground railroad, or slave ships, and the KKK. It definitely was not as early as elementary school, I grew up near NYC and MD near DC. I was shocked when I found out here in TN they teach it so very young, amd I guess they do in GA too. So a huge generalization we might make is it is tought in the south early than the north, but I have no idea how statistically true that really is. I might ask a question about it.

If it is taught earlier in the south the question is why? And, what does it really accomplish. It’s very interesting actually. I was talking to a black woman at work a few years ago and I was telling her it is very different in other parts of the country. It was a long conversation, but at one point she talked about American blacks not knowing where they specifically came from, their ancestry, and the loss of tradition. I told her, “I think you should raise your boys being proud to be American, you create traditions in your family they can pass down, celebrate the Muslim holidays, always fix a particular meal for certain celebrations. I don’t know much about the country my grandfather and great grandparents came from, most of our traditions are religious or something my mom or her mom made up or did or we adopted living in America.” She was shocked to know I don’t know much about the life my ancestors had, all I know is their lives were horrific in a lot of cases. Antisemitism was very bad in Russia and Latvia back then. But, in America I feel like I have opportunity and freedom, and her kids should too. They should not be weighed down by messages of how the white man keeps them down.

She homeschools her kids, so she has some control over what is taught, but in her own mind she lives with the feeling that she has “less” than white people. Less known history, all known history is pretty negative, less opportunity, less. She has a masters degree, she is educated and has a good job, but that all weighs on her I guess. I don’t feel like lack people up north have that whole thing at the front of their brain like they do here. They are reminded of inequities, differences, and social pressures even within their own black communities work against them in my opinion. The message to Jewish kids was generally over the years in America, we are in America now, study, play with your friends, speak English like them, this is the land of opportunity, you can be anything you want to be. I don’t think that message is given to some black kids, especially not here.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Obviously a math quiz isn’t the right time to teach history. Stupid mistake that caused a lot of offence, understandably.

bkcunningham's avatar

One thing you are missing is the fact that the teacher didn’t just randomly decide to teach math and history together. It is an educational program developed by Dr. Randall Charles, of San Jose State University, San Jose, California, if I’m not mistaken. It is an attempt to help math scores improve with American school children.

The last American slave, Charlie Smith died in 1979, @Moegitto. I’m 50 and I’ve talked to and met a former negro slave and the grandchild of a plantation owner who worked negro slaves. Slavery ended in the US some 147 years ago.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Yes, that goes back to my statements about the current push in mathematics to do more word problems and incorporate other subjects with math, and how I don’t agree with it, especially at young ages. I was not aware of the man deemed responsible for the idea, I’m going to google him later and read about him, thanks for providing his name.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are very welcome @JLeslie. If you said it earlier, I missed your answer. But, I’m curious about your opinion on incorporating word problems with math. Is it the combination of learning comprehension and reading with math or did you mean you aren’t in favor of teaching math too early?

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I am very in favor of math at very early ages, especially if the child takes to it. Some children are great at math and slower at reading and reading comprehension. If it is A very young child who excells at math, I don’t want word problems to make math so confusing the child is not good at anything. I think disciplines should be more separate at a young age, so the child is more aware of what they like and can do well. I understand there was concern among educators that children who did well in math struggled were still so etimes struggling on word problems, which back in my day were introduced in much later grades, so there was an effort to improve the childs ability to do word problems, so it is a blurry line what to do and when to start introducing word problems. It makes me wonder if these new efforts in how they teach math are working? If students are doing better overall. It seems to me a large percentage of math problems are word problem now at a young age, and I think it is too much.

I was a math person, my reading was very average. Math was interesting and easy for me because it did not involve reading. A teacher showed me how to do a problem, and then I did a bunch of similar problems in a workbook, and then I took a test and got an A. I liked doing math work, I was great at it. I hated reading a book. Math is why I easily got into business school (algebra was a weeder class) and why I was a great buyer and Account Executive. If the love of math had been taken from me I would have had one less thing I was good at in school. Later my reading comprehension was better, pretty much still on level though.

I did math homework with my neice when she was in second grade and it was difficult for me to understand a couple of the questions, and I used to tutor math and got through Business Calculus, statistics, and Finance in college.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie ^^^AGREE! 100%^^^

Ron_C's avatar

I lived in southern rural Virginia for about 14 years and the major reason I moved was the education for my children. Suffolk county Virginia was notorious for underpaying teachers, subsequently, quality teachers were hard to find.

At the same time I was contemplating moving back north, a friend of mine moved to Atlanta. His experiences finding a quality school for his child was even worse than mine..

I finally moved back to Pennsylvania, he sent his daughter to a Catholic school despite the expense and hassle with the church. That was almost 20 years ago and it appears that public schools in the south haven’t improved much. I blame the school board and taxpayers more than the teacher. I suspect that most of the teachers are not very high quality because school budget are severely limited.

cazzie's avatar

@Ron_C that is a nightmare no one deserves to live in. Fight… fight !!!!

PhiNotPi's avatar

In South Carolina, there is a very broad range of the funding of school districts. The high end is this one, while at the low end are the ones described here. There seems to be little state funding for schools. Most funding seems to come from the county level. The state government sets the standards for what is learned in school.

Ron_C's avatar

@PhiNotPi typical southern strategy. They can’t make laws against the poor or black people so they are a little subtle. Keep them uneducated and uninformed, make sure that wages are low and you have a docile population you can control especially if you can distract them with religion and gay marriage. It’s worked since the civil war and there’s no sign it will stop.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I don’t think it is that deliberate or calculating. In Memphis it is more like they feel the poor, stupid blacks (not to be confused with the smart educated ones) are hopeless, providing them better education won’t accomplish anything, and they don’t want to pay for other peoples kids education no matter what color they are.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@Ron_C I never attributed it to racism, but I just thought is was the state government being stupid. Which happens. A lot.

The thing that made me mad was when Governor Haley cut funding to public schools and put more funding to private schools because she considers public schools bad (I wonder why they are bad). She sends her kids to private schools. The problem is that this only pays part of the tuition to private schools. This only makes private schools more affordable to those that can already afford to pay most of the tuition.

Under this system, those who are poor and uneducated (regardless of skin color) will continue to be poor and uneducated. I agree with @JLeslie that this isn’t cold and calculating, but that the government just doesn’t want to pay for education. Period. Blacks started out in America as poor and uneducated, so it’s only going to stay if we continue doing things the same way.

So, I have to admit that I am somewhat shameful of the way stuff is turning out down here.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I noticed a real elitist attitude in the big city and narrow minds in the country. The south is a nice place for vacation but I certainly wouldn’t want to live and raise children there.

mrrich724's avatar

@Ron_C I really don’t think it’s a “southern strategy” to keep “them” uneducated and uninformed. The south, I’d imagine is more conservative than the liberal north. Conservatism leads to an attitude of not wanting to continue handout/welfare benefits. Keeping people uninformed would only propagate that.

Having been born in NY, and constantly going back there, but raised in the south, I just don’t see that at all.

Also . . . sorry to break it to you, but your “keep them poor and controllable” isn’t a southern thing, it’s a world thing. Everywhere there is government, there is that attitude.

In addition, the current US president is a black man, and seems to many people to be in favor of keeping people poor and dependent on the government. He makes no effort to conceal that he is in favor of socialism. . . and he’s from Chicago isn’t he? Not a southern state, well at least not by us southerners’ standards.

mrrich724's avatar

Oh, and get out more @Ron_C and you’d notice that the narrow minds and elitist attitudes are everywhere. . . not where you have “noticed” them . . . but perhaps you are either one or the other too much not to notice how narrow minded that statement was.

Ron_C's avatar

@mrrich724 you’re probably right it was a pretty narrow minded statement but I was describing things I encountered during my 14 years down south. The first ten years I was in the Navy and pretty insulated from local attitudes. There isn’t so much a racial attitude as a class attitude.

Rich black people are capable of being as narrow minded, insensitive, and greedy as any white person. The civil war was between southern elitists and north eastern industrialists who didn’t mind getting their hands dirty.

It has always been about class and money. Conservatives tend to look at the poor as if they deserve to be poor. Having god on you side makes it easy to feel superior.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I would not want to raise my kids here either I don’t think. I would want to move by age 10 for sure.

@mrrich724 Obama is from Hawaii, lived in Chicago for a lot of his adult life. He is not a socialist, I am so tired of that. He does support social systems we have, I agree with that. I don’t think his intent is to keep poor people poor and dependent, just like I defended I don’t think southerners are trying to keep black people poor and dependent. The southern situation is incredibly complex in my opinion, much more than I realized until I finally moved down here. I think the vast majority of Americans are not racist, do not want people to be poor, and genuinely care about all people. But, there is a cultural rift that messes everything up. It is not skin color so much as it is socioeconomic and a culture clash. In my opinion as we move up the socioeconomic ladder the difference between white and black diminish. But, here in Memphis for instance, the fact is many many more poor people are black, and so it seems racial.

Memphis schools voted to give up their school charter to force the county to oversee Memphis City schools, and the white people out in the burbs are freaked. Not only will those kids possibly be in some of their schools (which is total bullshit, no one is going to be busing, but that is what they are terrified of) but also now Black Memphians will have a vote for the county school board, and surely they could screw that up. Actually, I would fear that also. They voted in some pretty crappy people in Memphis. The population is so undereducated, something like 1 in 4 black adults in Memphis can’t read. But, I like that the county will now be responsible so they cannot ignore Memphis education anymore.

The basic schtick regarding not caring about public school in general really really bothers me. The amount of money these people spend on private education for their children I find to be ridiculous honestly. Many spend $15k for a year in high school, some schools are more.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Isn’t the main idea of socialism (the actual original socialism, not Chinese or Soviet “socialism”) to make every person equal? I don’t like it when people use socialism as some kind of insult, when pure socialism is actually a very good thing.

EDIT: It seems that I have mixed up communism and socialism. Communism is when there are no social classes. But my same point applies to people calling other people communist.

6rant6's avatar

@PhiNotPi No. Socialism simply means that the government owns the means of production. It is implicit that people with more valuable skills will still be treated better.

JLeslie's avatar

@PhiNotPi You might be thinking communism, but even under communism there are inequities.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@JLeslie @6rant6 Fixed now. Communism and socialism seem to used interchangebly these days, but they really aren’t. Thanks for the clarification.

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