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Teacher Assigns Extremely Offensive Math Homework

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Teacher Assigns Extremely Offensive Math Homework

Lakeland Union High School Math Assignment Has Lac Du Flambeau Members Upset Over Cultural Insensitivity


Lakeland Union High School Homework

An offensive math homework assignment issued to students at Lakeland Union High School has members of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin urging administrators to bring more cultural sensitivity to the school’s curriculum, Indian Country Today Media Network reports.

Abbey Thompson, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe, posted a photo of her son Noah’s completed homework assignment to Facebook, attracting inflammatory responses from across the country and Canada.

“What happened after Chief Short Cake Died?” is the question posed at the top of the assignment — the answer to which was “Squaw Bury Short Cake.”

Richard Vesbach, a third-year math teacher at LUHS and the one responsible for assigning the homework, has since written a number of apology letters.

Vesbach explains that he found the assignment in an outdated book of worksheets from the 1980s that had been left in the classroom when he started teaching. He says he has gotten rid of the book.

“None of that excuses what has happened and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Vesbach wrote. “No one else is to blame but me. As a result, LUHS has appropriately sent me home for the day. I recommended that they not pay me.”

School administrators would not comment on whether Vesbach would face further disciplinary action.

In January, a suburban Atlanta teacher resigned following an investigation over third-grade students being assigned math homework that included word problems about slavery.

One of the problems read: "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Another was: "If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

lakeland union high school math assignment

by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Replies (161-170):
GrannyM.
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 8:25 AM

My grandmother on my mothers side was full Cherokee Indian...She was a wonderful woman that I still miss to the day ...she died in 1957...She mentioned being called "Squaw" and was not fond of it at all. But she just smiled and shook her head . Sadly there will always be some that feel the need to bully those who are different than them...The teacher that posed this badly worded question needs some sensitivity lessons in my opinion...it's possible he did not even realize the term would be hurt ful. I can recall as a child asking my Dad what the term meant after hearing it used in a western movie. He told me it was what people called a 'girl' Indian. For a long time I didn't know any different. I'm now 65 yrs old. I know the difference now...

GrannyM.
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 8:31 AM

"Richard Vesbach, a third-year math teacher at LUHS and the one responsible for assigning the homework, has since written a number of apology letters."

He apologized...I accept that ... I will move on... 

mjande4
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I actually have this entire curriculum and give these PUZZLES out after tests and quizzes to keep the kids working on fundamentals while others are finishing.  It's NOT about proper English.  They are a "play" on words.  It's not anything a teacher would use every day, but they are a fun way to hone skills.  People are WAY too sensitive over nothing.  I don't even care about the puzzle part, as my students know, I care about the math.  The funny thing is the majority of my students are former or current ELL's and they NEVER understand the riddle.  LOL

Quoting MentorMom1:

I think one of the larger lessons is that teachers don't always review material before handing it out to kids. Call it lazy if you want to. This man used old material way past its expiration date!. He should have gone over it first and deemed it unacceptable. Why assume it's okay just because some other teacher used it and it's still sitting in a file drawer. It's like giving kids medicine after the expiration date. Who would do that?

I've even seen teachers teach inaccurate facts out of textbooks without giving a disclaimer. What? No brain?

BTW, SQUAW BURY SHORTCAKE isn't even proper English. It's "Tonto" talk. How demeaning. 


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Oct. 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Ok, you got butt-hurt because I didn't say "general you" so you keep taking personal cheap shots. I answered a question in an open forum where I am one of the few people who might find themselves in that particular situation. Don't ask public questions if you don't want public answers. I'm sorry you haven't grown into those big girl panties yet but you need to learn not to take things personally.

Quoting EireLass:

Yes, I know.

Yes, I said 'not quite right'. I asked a specific person a question. Specific to her, as she had made a statement. You jumped in and said "You would punch me in the face". That's a little bit violent, don't you think? Normal people don't usually jump into a conversation with that being their opening line.

Quoting LauraKW:

Native Americans - I prefer the term Indian - cultures are not the same. We have our own languages - not just dialects, completely different languages. Our own customs, our own histories. Tribes have different governments, different Constitutions, different laws, different treaties with the US govt. We are all indigenous to this hemisphere, and our tribes basically had similar shitty outcomes with the US govt. I'm Cherokee. We tend to have higher or more prominent cheekbones than other tribes. I've noticed that Kiowa tend to have a sharper nasal ridge. I'm not terribly familiar with the Navajo but they seem to have darker skin than Cherokee in general - perhaps because the Cherokee originate from the North Carolina area and lived more in shaded areas than the Navajo who lived in more arid sun-baked lands.



Using a word from one language, one culture, when there are hundreds of tribes - using one word to generally address all Native American women is marginalizing at best.



I find it ironic that you threw the term "Oriental" in there. Something "not quite right" about the way I talk online - that is hyterical, I'm going to work that into a conversation somewhere.


Quoting EireLass:

"Within the same culture".....I'm saying it this way, rather than create a long drawn out paragraph. I figured you might be smart enough to catch on. Native Americans...not really grouping them together, yet I am. (meaning them as opposed to all people ie. Oriental, African American, etc etc) And because the only ones who've talked about this with experience are (supposed) Native Americans, and have identified they are with a particular tribe. From my experience, no they are not all the same. You have come out with your fists up....I don't think I was first to present you as a negative person. I'd say you did very well on that, yourself. There is something 'not quite right' with a person who talks as you have, online.

Quoting LauraKW:

Did I ever say "squaw" meant "cunt"? "Within the same cultures" - what cultures are you referring to? Do you think all Native Americans are the same, that we all have one culture? You seem very focused on presenting me as a negative person, intent on trying to make this personally about me. Why?

Quoting EireLass:

Well, yes, for you. Because you can only allow yourself for it to mean you're a cunt and nothing more. How is it that it can mean 2 totally different things within the same cultures? Or is it more that some people, such as yourself, will do anything to find negativity in things. That you are by nature, not happy unless you can bring misery into something? That you can only be violent rather than enlightening, etc?

Quoting LauraKW:

Ostensibly "colored" is merely a distiction of skin pigmentation. Though grammatically appropriate, I doubt a black person would tell you it is a term of respect. "Squaw" is not a term of respect no matter how it is spun.

Quoting EireLass:

So even though it only means woman, wouldn't you want to educate your husband and children on that? And wouldn't it really only make you roll your eyes at someone who's trying to be tough (by using derogatory terms) and has no clue that he's addressing you respectfully? If anything, I'd think it would make you laugh in their face.

Quoting fmchavez:

I have only ever been called a squaw in a derogatory manner. That word has horrible connotations despite the fact that it actually just means woman (especially since few who actually use this word know that). I would not be happy if my daughters brought this home. My husband would likely flip his lid (and that takes a lot from him, he doesn't even honk the horn in the car when it's warranted).

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LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM
What is the play on words in this particular lesson? What makes it fun?

Quoting mjande4:

I actually have this entire curriculum and give these PUZZLES out after tests and quizzes to keep the kids working on fundamentals while others are finishing.  It's NOT about proper English.  They are a "play" on words.  It's not anything a teacher would use every day, but they are a fun way to hone skills.  People are WAY too sensitive over nothing.  I don't even care about the puzzle part, as my students know, I care about the math.  The funny thing is the majority of my students are former or current ELL's and they NEVER understand the riddle.  LOL


Quoting MentorMom1:

I think one of the larger lessons is that teachers don't always review material before handing it out to kids. Call it lazy if you want to. This man used old material way past its expiration date!. He should have gone over it first and deemed it unacceptable. Why assume it's okay just because some other teacher used it and it's still sitting in a file drawer. It's like giving kids medicine after the expiration date. Who would do that?


I've even seen teachers teach inaccurate facts out of textbooks without giving a disclaimer. What? No brain?


BTW, SQUAW BURY SHORTCAKE isn't even proper English. It's "Tonto" talk. How demeaning. 


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jlo1313
by Silver Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM
1 mom liked this

 I'm sorry you missed the joke at the end. 

Quoting LauraKW:

What is the "fun" part?

Quoting jlo1313:

 Sorry, I laughed.  First, it is true, second, it is a fun way to teach math, third...get the stick out of you ass!

 

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM
1 mom liked this

It's the internet, how is it personal? This is about you making sure everyone knows you're an ass. Nothing to do with any sized panties of mine. If you wore those big girl pants, you'd probably have the maturity and cooth that goes along with them, and talk normal to people, explain why you believe the way you do, what things mean to you, etc, rather than act violent. Do you really think people take violent people intellectually serious?

Quoting LauraKW:

Ok, you got butt-hurt because I didn't say "general you" so you keep taking personal cheap shots. I answered a question in an open forum where I am one of the few people who might find themselves in that particular situation. Don't ask public questions if you don't want public answers. I'm sorry you haven't grown into those big girl panties yet but you need to learn not to take things personally.
Quoting EireLass:

Yes, I know. Yes, I said 'not quite right'. I asked a specific person a question. Specific to her, as she had made a statement. You jumped in and said "You would punch me in the face". That's a little bit violent, don't you think? Normal people don't usually jump into a conversation with that being their opening line.

Quoting LauraKW:

Native Americans - I prefer the term Indian - cultures are not the same. We have our own languages - not just dialects, completely different languages. Our own customs, our own histories. Tribes have different governments, different Constitutions, different laws, different treaties with the US govt. We are all indigenous to this hemisphere, and our tribes basically had similar shitty outcomes with the US govt. I'm Cherokee. We tend to have higher or more prominent cheekbones than other tribes. I've noticed that Kiowa tend to have a sharper nasal ridge. I'm not terribly familiar with the Navajo but they seem to have darker skin than Cherokee in general - perhaps because the Cherokee originate from the North Carolina area and lived more in shaded areas than the Navajo who lived in more arid sun-baked lands. Using a word from one language, one culture, when there are hundreds of tribes - using one word to generally address all Native American women is marginalizing at best. I find it ironic that you threw the term "Oriental" in there. Something "not quite right" about the way I talk online - that is hyterical, I'm going to work that into a conversation somewhere.
Quoting EireLass:

"Within the same culture".....I'm saying it this way, rather than create a long drawn out paragraph. I figured you might be smart enough to catch on. Native Americans...not really grouping them together, yet I am. (meaning them as opposed to all people ie. Oriental, African American, etc etc) And because the only ones who've talked about this with experience are (supposed) Native Americans, and have identified they are with a particular tribe. From my experience, no they are not all the same. You have come out with your fists up....I don't think I was first to present you as a negative person. I'd say you did very well on that, yourself. There is something 'not quite right' with a person who talks as you have, online.

Quoting LauraKW:

Did I ever say "squaw" meant "cunt"? "Within the same cultures" - what cultures are you referring to? Do you think all Native Americans are the same, that we all have one culture? You seem very focused on presenting me as a negative person, intent on trying to make this personally about me. Why?
Quoting EireLass:

Well, yes, for you. Because you can only allow yourself for it to mean you're a cunt and nothing more. How is it that it can mean 2 totally different things within the same cultures? Or is it more that some people, such as yourself, will do anything to find negativity in things. That you are by nature, not happy unless you can bring misery into something? That you can only be violent rather than enlightening, etc?

Quoting LauraKW:

Ostensibly "colored" is merely a distiction of skin pigmentation. Though grammatically appropriate, I doubt a black person would tell you it is a term of respect. "Squaw" is not a term of respect no matter how it is spun.
Quoting EireLass:

So even though it only means woman, wouldn't you want to educate your husband and children on that? And wouldn't it really only make you roll your eyes at someone who's trying to be tough (by using derogatory terms) and has no clue that he's addressing you respectfully? If anything, I'd think it would make you laugh in their face.

Quoting fmchavez:

I have only ever been called a squaw in a derogatory manner. That word has horrible connotations despite the fact that it actually just means woman (especially since few who actually use this word know that). I would not be happy if my daughters brought this home. My husband would likely flip his lid (and that takes a lot from him, he doesn't even honk the horn in the car when it's warranted).


Jynnifer292
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

 At one time the Algonquian tribe used the word squaw and it meant young woman.  NOW the word is used as an insult. You know how words and their meanings can change over time.  Yup, it was an ignorant assignment and he should have had the common sense not to give it. I think an apology is enough though.

salamandersmom
by Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Ok... so it was TACKY.  But the teacher apologized repeatedly.  And, he got rid of the book with the offensive material in it, and he apologized and was punished, even recommending a harsher punishment for himself.  There is a LOT OF THIS KIND OF STUFF still floating in the system.  If the teacher "inherited" this stuff from previous teachers, I"m sure he thought it was ok, since it was in the school.  Time to let this drop. 

OttawaHoney
by on Oct. 9, 2012 at 3:31 PM
There is a controversy about the term squaw, that us why some might find it offensive. It is a European misinterpretation of a suffix for feminine words in Algonquin languages. I find the word squaw offensive for other reasons, because it can be used in a derogatory way and historically has been. White kids used to chase my gramdma home taunting her with the names squaw, moon face and feather head... but yeah he got sent home for a day and apologized. That's enough for me.

-heat
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