Teacher Fired For Giving 3rd Graders 'Violent And Racist' Math Problems

teacher fired violent racist math problemsA tiger bakes hundreds of humans in ovens. A boy chokes to death on hundreds of marbles. A SWAT team member kills hundreds of terrorists, murderers and arsonists, in just one week alone.

These aren't scenes from a surrealist art house film, but the plot lines of math problems, which a Washington, D.C., schoolteacher gave her third graders for homework, a local TV station reports. After the story broke, Center City Public Charter Schools investigated, and decided the teacher had to go.

The unnamed teacher at Trinidad Center City School decided against using the school's textbooks for the homework assignment last Monday, and instead went to the website Homeschooling-Paradise.com, which provides free educational resources.

"Children are bored to death doing sterile and sanitized math problems like 'Mark has 5 pencils. If he gives 3 of his pencils to Sally, how may pencils does he have left?'" writes Kris Murphy, the creator of Homeschooling-Paradise. "So what did I do? I made my math problems fun and funny by putting what kids absolutely adore -- ogres, fairies, bashing, sword-fighting... and yes, nose-picking and belching too..."

The questions are certainly creative. Ninjas get stabbed to death with chopsticks, a sea monster gets tickled to death by paratroopers, and buffalos get decapitated with a machete.

One of the problems:

My 3 friends and I were caught and tied up by 1023 screaming cannibals in a jungle last night. Soon we were feeling terribly itchy because of the mosquitoes. We begged the cannibals to scratch us. 219 cannibals refused because they were busy cutting vegetables. The rest of them, however, surrounded us in equal numbers and began to scratch us with their teeth, just like dogs. It felt good! How many cannibals scratched me?

"It doesn't follow anything that we do," Beverly Wheeler, the CEO of City Center Public Charter Schools, told Washington's WUSA-TV. "I found them to be violent and racist."

Many parents were shocked that the teacher, reportedly a minister, would assign such violence-riddled questions to their 8-year-olds. Some suspected that somebody else had made her do it, the TV station reported. Wheeler is skeptical, however. Regardless, she says, the teacher is still responsible.

On the feedback section of Homeschooling-Paradise, many parents and teachers praise Murphy's unorthodox questions. Camelia Ticau, from California, said her son finds them "very funny." Melissa Cronin, from Washington, claimed they gave her son "self confidence." "I am actually getting better at math," writes Mahesh from Ontario, Canada. "Your website is awesome!"

But one commenter came to the same conclusion as the school. "The content," writes Edward Bryne from Minnesota, is "inappropriate for children."

"I want to make children love math," Murphy replies. "The most popular books are about fighting and fantasy too, such as the 'Chronicles of Narnia' and 'Harry Potter' series."

It is true that children these days have a predilection for blood-sucking vampires and genocidal wizards. "I am just changing with the times," Murphy claims.

But Wheeler doesn't think the times should be changing quite so morbidly in math class. The teacher, she says, showed "bad judgment."




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dionebner

Actually the answer to the cannibals question is 201..nice to see you can do third grade math!
1023-219=804/4=201 (there's 4 people.."my 3 friends and I")

March 25 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bitewell

It's an most EXCELLENT test. It reminds me very sentimentally of my "bright college days". By the way, the answer to the "cannibal" question is 268 cannibals. That's all that REALLY matters. But, my goodness, how the Oh-I'm-So-Sentitive shriekers do lament and wail.

March 16 2012 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bitewell's comment
Dan Megill

actually, the answer is 201. There are 1023 cannibals, 219 refused, and the rest split up equally among "My 3 friends and I" (which makes 4). 1023-219=804. 804/4=201.

You only divided by 3.

March 17 2012 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tomcaine

Consider the source, they probably DO have itch-scratching cannibals there!

March 09 2012 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Smith

This has to be the most amazing thing I have EVER seen!!!!!! Why can't she be my teacher???

March 07 2012 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
angi

WOW! Are we using the word racist to describe anything we don't like??? We are getting as bad as the Taliban!! Kids watch more violence on TV than what was in that word problem, they see violence at home, in the street and everywhere else in this "civilized" society of ours but cannibals using their teeth to scratch?? Really? Grow up people. You pay for more violence than that in cable and video games!! LMAO. Ignorance at its best.

March 07 2012 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
roundrec

I dont get it . whats's the complaint ? canibals / get over it.

March 07 2012 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yasmin

Children know the difference between reality and fantasy. The school board needs to get over itself. Let the teacher WHO REALLY TEACHES MATH back into the classroom. Ms. Wheeler, as a math teacher myself....cudos to you!

March 07 2012 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mysterypickles

The correct answer is 201. Check the question again. :)

March 07 2012 at 2:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mysterypickles's comment
bradstephnashes

Yes, you have a keen eye.

March 07 2012 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
percheron1

If a Cowboy rides into town on Friday and stays three days and then leaves on Friday...How is this possible?

March 07 2012 at 2:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to percheron1's comment
percheron1

If a US business outsources its call centers to India and the Pune site employs 50 workers and the Delhi site employs 27 workers...How many US jobs were lost?

March 07 2012 at 2:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to percheron1's comment
bradstephnashes

Does anyone really want that job?

March 07 2012 at 2:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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