Sensitivity Training Ordered After Elementary School Teacher Uses "Slavery" Math Problems

Elementary School's Math Problems Citing Slavery Are "Unacceptable": New York CIty Department of Education

Friday, Feb 22, 2013  |  Updated 4:51 PM EDT
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Sensitivity Training Ordered After Teacher Uses "Slavery" Math Problems

A Manhattan elementary school principal said she's "appalled" by a homework assignment that used scenarios about killing and whipping slaves to teach math.
 
Adele Schroeter has ordered sensitivity training for the entire staff of P.S. 59 following last month's assignment, the New York City Department of Education said in a statement Friday.

 
A teacher had asked fourth-graders to write homework questions that blended math and social studies, the DOE said. The teacher then used the students' questions, including the slave-related ones, as homework for the class.
 
One question pertained to the number of slaves who died while taking over a ship. It asked how many slaves were still alive. The other said a slave was whipped five times a day and asked students to calculate how many times a month he was whipped.
 
A student-teacher said she was shocked by the wording and later refused to hand out the worksheet in another class.
 
"I'm just like, 'Wow, this is really inappropriate,'" Aziza Harding told NY1.
 
The DOE said the situation was "obviously unacceptable." It said "appropriate disciplinary action" would be taken, and said the chancellor had spoken to the principal.

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