While we admire the clear desire for efficient pedagogy displayed by teachers at Beaver Ridge Elementary in Norcross, Ga., we can't help but feel that there is probably a better history lesson to include in math problems than "slavery," or maybe a better way to teach students about slavery than by providing them with questions like "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" (For the record: seven.)
Another question read ""If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?" "If Frederick—if anyone got any kind of beatings, you don't put that into the homework," Christopher Braxton, a father of one of Beaver Ridge's students, told WSB-TV. Terrance Barnett agrees: "I'm having to explain to my 8-year-old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem. That hurts." (It's also difficult: we're not sure we could explain why beatings are in a math problem.) The school has apologized, though it says it just wanted to provide some cross-curricular fun:
"In this one, the teachers were trying to do a cross-curricular activity," district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
Roach explained the teachers were trying to incorporate social studies lessons into the math problems, which is something the school district encourages. But the problem with the questions is there is no historical context.
Not that we are education experts, or anything, but... this is probably not a situation where "historical context" would have improved matters.