Another day, another example of persistent racism in our children’s schools.
Case in point: Officials from a Texas charter school are apologizing to parents for issuing an assignment to students asking them to list the positive and negative aspects of slavery.
They stress that the 8th grade workbook activity was a “clear mistake.”
“To be clear, there is no debate about slavery,” Aaron Kindel, superintendent of Great Hearts Texas, said in a statement posted on Facebook Thursday. “It is immoral and a crime against humanity.”
He added, “Our review of the situation found this incident to be limited to one teacher at just one campus….We want to thank the parents who voiced their concern and brought this to our attention. We are removing the textbook from all of our Texas academies. Please know Great Hearts is taking this seriously, including placing this teacher on leave while we have time to collect all the facts.
They plan to also conduct an audit of the American History textbook they’re using, “Prentice Hall Classics: A History of the United States” to make sure the material is suitable for students.
News broke of this incident on Wednesday when parent Roberto Livar posted a photo of the worksheet, “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View,” his son Manu was asked to complete.
Livid, he wanted to know what “in the hell” was going on.
Livar recently told the Huff Post that his son was very “uneasy” about showing him the assignment, and for good reason.
“We are fully aware that there is a concerted effort by the far-right nationally to reframe slavery as being ‘not that bad’ and trying to revise the civil war as being about ‘states rights’ and not about slavery.”
He added, “We were concerned that this assignment fell in line with that ideology and were naturally concerned, as well as other parents.”
In addition, Livar told the Huff Post that his son has been harassed for “ruining” the school’s reputation and that the issue of racism on campus goes beyond this homework assignment.
“These issues are not isolated to one school or one book,” Livar said.
“These issues are systemic and continue up the chain all the way to the Texas School Board of Education.”
Local politicians have also weighed in on the issue, including Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro who called it “unacceptable.
Meanwhile, Pearson, the company that published the history textbook the school uses, is distancing itself from this controversy. A spokesperson told USA Today that they have nothing to do with that particular homework assignment.
“The worksheet that was being associated with this book in social media posts was not created by, endorsed, or encouraged in any way by Pearson,” Scott Overland, Pearson’s Director of Media Relations, explained.
“We do not support the point of view represented in the worksheet and strongly condemn the implication that there was any positive aspect to slavery.”
They also tweeted the receipts:
In Trump’s America, it’s becoming harder to believe that it’s 2018.