Texas School Assigns Students to List Positive Aspects of Slavery
A San Antonio Charter School is in hot water after an assignment asked students to consider the positive aspects of slavery.
Great Hearts, Monte Vista campus in San Antonio was featured on the local news after Robert Livar shared a picture online of his son's homework assignment, "The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View", where students were asked to list both positive and negative aspects to slavery.
On Thursday, the day after the homework was assigned, Aaron Kindel, the school's Superintendent, posted an apology to Facebook.
Last evening Great Hearts was made aware that one of our teachers at the Monte Vista North campus assigned homework that was very inappropriate and entirely inconsistent with Great Hearts philosophy and culture. In the 8th grade American History class students were asked to reflect on the differing sides of slavery. To be clear, there is no debate about slavery. It is immoral and a crime against humanity.
Our review of the situation found this incident to be limited to one teacher at just one campus. It was a clear mistake and we sincerely apologize for the insensitive nature of this offense. We want to thank the parents who voiced their concern and brought this to our attention. Please know Great Hearts is taking this seriously, including placing this teacher on leave while we have time to collect all the facts.
We are removing from classrooms and will conduct an audit of the American History textbook in use, "Prentice Hall Classics: A History of the United States". If we deem this textbook imprudent, we will permanently remove it and replace it with a history book that accurately reflects our values.
Finally, the headmaster and teachers at the Monte Vista North campus will spend time with the impacted students to explain the mistake and engage them in lessons that are more thoughtful about this period of American History.
We fully intend to make sure something like this does not happen again and will keep parents posted as we address this issue further. We have scheduled a follow up communication on May 9, 2018.
As reported by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro tweeted that the offending assignment came from a textbook by the publishing company Pearson, that has been criticized for using racial stereotypes in college-level nursing texts and not aligning with common-core math standards. However, Pearson's spokesperson, Scott Overland, stated that Pearson was not responsible for the assignment:
The worksheet in question was not created by, endorsed, or encouraged in any way by Pearson. We do not support this point of view and strongly condemn the implication that there was any positive aspect to slavery.
This follows in the wake of other controversial texts and assignments that include a Wisconsin Lutheran school asking students to state three good reasons for slavery, and reports of text books suggesting that American Indians willingly relocated during the 'Trail of Tears'.