Ex-teacher says slavery questions improper

Jan. 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM

ATLANTA, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A former Georgia elementary teacher who wrote slave-beating questions for third-grade pupils said he was only trying to "enhance student achievement."

Luis Rivera issued a statement to officials in Gwinnett County, apologizing for questions in a math homework assignment that he said were in "poor taste," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday.

"I did not write those questions with the intent of being malicious or offensive," Rivera's statement said. "I wrote poorly written questions in an attempt to enhance student achievement."

Rivera resigned from his $39,170-a-year-job at Beaver Ridge Elementary School Jan. 13, citing personal reasons.

A Gwinnett schools investigation found that Rivera was the author of a 20-page assignment that used Frederick Douglass, a 19th century orator and abolitionist who had been a slave, to teach math concepts.

One of the questions read: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

The assignment was used in four other third grade classrooms besides Rivera's.

The investigation found that the assignment was not reviewed by the grade-level chairman before it was distributed to pupils..

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