Grating Tests

This Week’s Poll!

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

That question, unbelievably, appeared this month on a third-grade math test at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in the touchy-feely state of Georgia. The aim, we’ve been assured, was cross-curricular: “to use history as a way of illuminating math.”

Are these people insane?

Another question on the test asked the third-graders: “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?” We’re all for using tricks to make math relevant to kids, but this is lunacy. And, anyway, if the authors of these cross-curricular questions wanted to use math to illuminate the reality of slavery, perhaps they could have asked the third-graders: “How many of the oranges do you think the slaves got to keep?”

The outcry from parents was swift, and the tests were shredded. But we’re wondering if the Grand Old Party in the red state of Georgia isn’t rolling up their sleeves. Georgia is, after all, one of the many states that pushed through notorious voter ID lawsostensibly to prevent non-existent voter fraud, but effectively an insidious effort to suppress minority votes.

Something tells us that using public education to make things like slavery sound as innocuous as a day in the life of Dick & Jane is too much for them to resist.

So what will they do next? Slavery is now off the list, but how else will red states use math to further a conservative agenda?

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Before you leave, don’t forget to check out this week’s featured video from the Lester & Charlie archives:

L&C’s first video: The Bradley Effect!