Entries in Homework (3)


Girl, 8, Gets ‘Catastrophe Award’ for Most Homework Excuses

ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The mother of an 8-year-old Arizona girl who was presented with a “Catastrophe Award” for apparently having the most excuses for not having homework believes her child was humiliated by her teacher.

Christina Valdez said her daughter, Cassandra Garcia, came home one day from class at Desert Springs Academy in Tucson, Ariz., with the paper award.

The document, which looks like a colorful card, contained the following message: “You’re Tops! Catastrophe Award.  Awarded to Cassandra Garcia. For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework.”

The teacher signed the card “Ms. Plowman,” added the date – May 18, 2012 – and even included a smiley face.

The teacher announced the award in front of the entire class, and the other students laughed at her daughter, Valdez said in a Thursday interview with ABC TV affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson.

When she contacted the school to complain, the principal “blew me off,” Valdez added. “She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children.”

But Valdez told KGUN that she didn’t find any of it funny.

“I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It’s disturbing,” she said, adding that she was not aware her daughter had a problem with homework, and that the girl had been enrolled in an after-school homework assistance program.

Desert Springs Academy’s principal declined to comment to a KGUN reporter, the affiliate reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teacher Reportedly Takes Pro-Obama Position in Assigning Homework

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLIFTON, Va.) -- The Fairfax County Public Schools system says there are no plans to discipline a middle school teacher after he was reported to have assigned his students work that involved researching the vulnerabilities of the Republicans running for president.

The conservative-leaning Daily Caller website reported Thursday that Liberty Middle School teacher Michael Denman told his eighth-grade students to find “weaknesses” among the GOP candidates and send their results to President Obama’s campaign.

John Torre, a spokesman for the school system, said the kids weren’t instructed to send their findings to the Democrats. Denman didn’t reply to an email requesting comment.

The school’s principal, Catherine Cipperly, sat down with Denman after parents complained of the assignment, which had already been completed, Torre said. Denman agreed to give his students the option of doing opposition research for candidates of either party if he assigns similar homework again, Torre said.

The Virginia Education Association provides guidance to teachers on how to assign work related to politics, and it says that teachers “must avoid involving their schools and students” in political activites.

“A government teacher has more latitude to engage students in discussion of political issues or to stage a mock election, for example, as long as the lessons fit the approved curriculum,” the association says in guidance written by its legal director. “Teachers in other content areas would likely be on shakier ground.”

John O’Neil, a spokesman for the VEA, said Denman is not a member of the association.

The Daily Caller quoted a student’s father, who didn’t give his name but said he has conservative leanings, as saying, “I was shocked that a school teacher would so blatantly politicize the curriculum of a middle school classroom.”

“Teachers acting in such manner need to be called out,” he told the publication.

Torre said parents have called for Denman to be fired but that the county has no plans to discipline him.

“There have been plenty of calls on this from parents, community members and from folks outside of the district,” Torre said.

The episode is different but still reminiscent of the furor that erupted among conservative parents when Obama announced that he would be giving a back-to-school speech to be broadcast in classrooms across the country.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘If Fred Got Two Beatings Per Day…’ Homework Asks

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Third graders in in Gwinnett County, Ga., were given math homework Wednesday that asked questions about slavery and beatings.

Christopher Braxton told ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta that he couldn’t believe the assignment his 8-year-old son brought home from of Beaver Ridge Elementary school in Norcross.

“It kind of blew me away,” Braxton said. “Do you see what I see? Do you really see what I see? He’s not answering this question.”

The question read, “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

Another math problem read, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

Another question asked how many baskets of cotton Frederick filled.

“I was furious at that point,” Braxton said.

“This outrages me because it just lets me know that there’s still racists,” said Stephanie Jones, whose child is a student at the school.

“Something like that shouldn’t be imbedded into a kid of the third, fourth, fifth, any grade,” parent Terrance Barnett told WSB-TV. “I’m having to explain to my 8-year-old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem. That hurts.”

“In this one, the teachers were trying to do a cross-curricular activity,” Gwinnett County school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Roach said the teachers were attempting to incorporate social studies into math problems.

“We understand that there are concerns about these questions, and we agree that these questions were not appropriate,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio