Marietta school system defends slavery assignment - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Marietta school system defends slavery assignment

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The Marietta school system is defending its slavery homework. The district says it is only following state standards that all fifth-grade teachers should follow.

FOX 5 first reported the story on Wednesday about Marietta parent Melanie Nelson's outrage with her son's slavery homework.

The assignment asked students at Dunleith Elementary School to act as if they were slaves on a journey to freedom.

A Marietta school spokesperson says the new Common Core curriculum calls for interactive approaches to learning that should delve deeper into a subject.

In this case, state educators believe the best way to learn about the institution of slaver is to live through the horrible bondage.

After meeting with the principal about the homework, the mother of four is still not satisfied.

"She could have apologized…she made me feel like that almost that she felt like that slavery was OK almost. She said, ‘Well the good thing about it, they have to learn about the good part at the end where everybody is free,'" said Nelson.

Marietta City Schools told FOX 5's Aungelique Proctor that the study of the Civil War is a unit fifth-graders statewide must learn. They displayed Georgia Professional Standards that specifically asks students to "take on the role of a runaway slave." with suggestions of interactive websites that dramatize learning.

"In today's curriculum, not only do you need to know, yes, there was a Civil War and it occurred during these years and these are some significant faces and places and things that occurred, but you also need to think critically and become a part of that history and write about that history," said Thomas Algarin of Marietta City Schools.

The school system says it can understand that some parents may have been offended and there are options.

"It's my understanding that  yes, the parent could ask for an alternative assignment and one could be created for that student," said Algarin.

The principal at Dunleith Elementary School requested that the district send out a letter to all 5th grade parents informing them of the new approach to learning.

The school system is working on that correspondence so that parents won't be caught off guard or can even better explain things to their children.

Nelson says she will withdraw her children from the school on Friday.

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