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Slavery-math problems irk Ga. parents

Jan. 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

NORCROSS, Ga., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A Georgia school district's response to complaints about a math worksheet dealing with slaves picking oranges didn't sit well with some parents, they say.

District officials in Norcross said they would work with the faculty at Beaver Creek Elementary School to come up with better questions than: "Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

But some parents and local civil-rights activists say the entire series of questions dealing with story-problem slaves toiling on a hypothetical plantation ranked a public apology.

"Intentionally or not, this was inappropriate," Jennifer Falk, a community activist and parent of two high school students in the area, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The newspaper said Sunday other questions included calculating how many times a slave named Frederick would get beaten in a week if he average two wallops per day.

District spokeswoman Sloan Roach told the newspaper the teachers were trying to fold a little American history into the third-grade math exercise. "Clearly, they did not do as good of a job as they should have done," she said.

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