Elementary school assignment with racial stereotypes raises concerns

An assignment at a local elementary school asking students to identify facts and opinions is raising concerns with at least one parent.

A parent reached out to KFOX14 about the homework assignment given to a 6th-grade child at Scotsdale Elementary School.

Students were given a list of 30 examples and were asked to make “F” if the example is a fact, “O” if it’s an opinion or “CA” if it is a commonplace assertion.

Some of the examples were “all babies are cute” or “Facebook is better than Twitter.” However, some examples could be considered offensive.

Those examples were “Asians are small people” and “Black people eat chicken.”

“It's overtly racist to me,” said the Scotsdale parent who brought the test to KFOX’s attention.

He didn’t want to be identified to protect his step-son but he says he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

“Asian people are small? I mean is that supposed to be comedic I don't get it,” he said. “I don't believe race should be taught in my son’s class.”

The parent said he had to have a talk with his step-son about racism once that assignment was sent home and he wants to know how it slipped under the radar for the district.

“These are still children their minds are plastic they're being molded right now,” he said.

The parent tried to get in contact with the teacher about the assignment but said he left voicemails and hasn’t heard back.

“I hope something like this helps bring awareness and raises questions for others to question this kind of things, to look it over and see what's going on in the curriculum and what are our kids been taught,” he said.

The Ysleta Independent School district released the following statement on the assignment.

“Our teachers are provided the academic freedom to choose the instructional materials for their assignments; however, this academic freedom sometimes results in assignments that are insensitive or inappropriate. The language in this particular assignment is not in any way condoned by the Ysleta Independent School District. This incident is now an internal personnel matter, and it will be handled administratively by the district.”

Patricia Ayala, the spokesperson for YISD, said the Scotsdale teacher did not come up with the assignment, but grabbed it from a teacher resource platform like a book or website. KFOX14 is still trying to determine exactly which teaching platform the worksheet came from and if other classes in the district have used it.

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