Teacher's Racist Math Test Is Stirring Controversy

June 1st 2016

Alex Mierjeski

AK-47s, drive-bys, prostitution, and drugs — not necessarily topics you'd expect on a middle school quiz.


But that's what eighth-graders at Burns Middle school in Mobile, Alabama allegedly found last week on a 10-question test. The test stirred outrage and disbelief among parents, and a language arts teacher was placed on administrative leave while the matter is being investigated, FOX10 News reported.

Here's a tweet with the test in question.

The test's questions allegedly present standard math problems framed in often shockingly insensitive, stereotypical, and racist situations.

"Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage or girls Tyrone knocked up," question eight reportedly reads.

"Dwayne pimps three ho's. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne's $800 per day crack habit," the third question allegedly asks.

According to FOX10 News, some parents said that their students initially laughed when they were handed the test on Friday, but the teacher "told them that it wasn't a joke, and they had to complete it, and turn it in," said Erica Hall, whose son was allegedly given the test.

"I couldn't believe it," Hall added.

ATTN: reached out the Burns Middle school for comment, but a spokesperson could not be reached, as the school was closed for the day. ATTN: will update as needed. A spokesperson for the Mobile County Public School System told the Washington Post that administrators "regret that this happened, especially so close to the end of the school year."

In a bizarre twist, this isn't even the first time an iteration of the test has cropped up in school classrooms, FOX10 found:

"FOX10 News did some research to try to find out where the test may have originated. What we discovered is that it apparently has a long history. Similar versions of the 10-question quiz have been turning up in classrooms across the country since the 1990s.

"And, a lot of teachers have ended up in hot water over the test in several states including Texas, California, and New Mexico."

Though its origins are unclear, some claim it stems from a joke math proficiency exam called the "The City of Los Angeles High School Math Proficiency Exam" or the "L.A. Math Test" — an apparent jab at high crime rates and the state of education in large cities, according to Snopes.com.

A picture of that test posted on Snopes.com bears some similarity to the Burns Middle school test.

LA joke math test

Numerous other schools and police departments have come under fire due to this test, according to Snopes and the Southern Poverty Law Center.