A school district in North Carolina apologized this week after a parent posted a photo on Facebook of a middle school homework assignment that appeared to mix a lesson about the Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787 with math word problems, according to reports.
Two of the questions on the assignment were: “How many slaves would be needed to equal at least 4 white people?” and “How many slaves would you have if you equaled 2 2/5 whites?”
The other questions were similar in nature.
The Kannapolis City School System responded directly to the parent in a statement on social media.
“Thank you for bringing this assignment to our attention,” the district wrote, according to WBTV. “In addition to reaching out to you personally to apologize, we also are posting here on behalf of Kannapolis City Schools to say that we agree that the assignment was not appropriate. We have taken steps to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. All of us at KMS and in Kannapolis City Schools sincerely apologize to you and all who were rightfully offended, and we’re making sure the assignment does not count toward any student’s grade. We expect and promote racial equity in our schools, and this assignment did not meet that standard or expectation at all. We are very sorry for that and are working to help make sure it won’t happen again. We hope you will accept our sincere apology and assurance that we are responding swiftly to correct the situation.”
The teacher who gave out the assignment has been disciplined, the school district said, according to WCNC-TV.
The Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787 was an agreement reached between the northern and southern states that allowed three out of every five slaves to be counted as part of the population for taxation and representation.