Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Your Homework Assignment Tonight Is To Snatch A Purse

Hey. Let's look in on our good friends in the educorporate world today and see what they're up to. Readers who still have memory cells left will recall that during our last visit we watched as representatives of law enforcement carted a nine year old away in handcuffs for throwing a tantrum. Oh, and did we mention that this was at the Charlotte Harbor School for special needs students?

Yeah. We thought so. Apparently the short busses out in front weren't a clue.

Anyway it seems the whole problem can be traced back to some...er...innovative decisions about material provided for what we can only assume are vocational education classes.

An elementary school worksheet that tells the story of four people who get away with robbing a house and describes how to play three card monty has drawn criticism from a mother who sees it as promoting criminal activity. "And did you see the vocabulary list they sent home with this? Words like 'shiv, gat, 40 ouncer, blow,' What are they trying to teach kids these days?"

"Look these kids are going nowhere on the standardized tests," said Jeffery N. Grotsky, Area Academic Officer. "We're just trying to give them some marketable skills, that's all. Maybe they can get a job in the security industry or something."

The worksheet, called "The Four Robbers," is intended to teach fourth-graders about sequence of events. "We got the part about arrest and incarceration in there, so the sequence is complete," Grotsky said.

But Kenyona J. Moore, whose 9-year-old brought the worksheet home last week, said it promotes criminal activity to youngsters. "I particularly don't like the part where the kids who get the best price from the fence get extra credit," she said.

Moore's, daughter told her: "I don't wanna rob a house, Mommy." Moore said the underlying message of the worksheet to inner-city children is, "This is all you'll be able to do anyway."

"Well of course that's not all they will be able to do," retorted Grotsky. "They can sell drugs. We're working on a math assignment where they have to figure out how to cut a kilo of cocaine into street level packets. Plus they have to calculate their profit too. This is higher order math we're teaching here."

The booklet, "Takin' It To The Man: Reading," is published by Off Whitey Press, based on Rikers Island, NY. A company official pointed out that there are no pictures of African-Americans on the lesson. "It could be whitey. You don't know," said 104962, vice president of publications. He said he could see Moore's point, but "we're all about process oriented context driven pedagogies in the tradition of Dewey."

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