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Company deflects responsibility for controversial quiz question

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Racist Quiz Question 2 09-16-2020
Racist Quiz Question URL blacked out 09-16-2020
Photo Credit: Benjamin Orlikowski

UPDATE:
Edgenuity, the company providing virtual learning resources for the Chippewa Falls School District, is saying a different company is responsible for a quiz question raising concerns in Chippewa Falls.

In a statement provided to News 18, Edgenuity says a third-party organization called Accelerate Education is who created the controversial quiz question.

The question read, "Native Americans have a strong connection to Mother Earth. They were taught to love, respect, and honor _________ the land, their clothes, or the white man."

Chippewa Falls Superintendent Jeff Holmes called the question "insensitive, improper, and unacceptable." You can read his entire statement in the previous story below.

Here is the entire statement from Edgenuity:

This matter is something that Edgenuity takes very seriously and we assure the community of Chippewa Falls that we share their concerns. The content within this social studies lesson was created by Accelerate Education, a third-party organization whose content we license, but do not own, and use as part of our elementary curriculum offerings. When we brought this issue to their attention, they updated the content immediately.

Additionally, Edgenuity and Accelerate Education are conducting a comprehensive bias and sensitivity review of their entire curriculum, and Accelerate has agreed to revise and update content that presents bias, insensitivity, or unfair representation. 

An Edgenuity Spokesperson

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - A question posed in a Chippewa Falls School's social studies quiz is sparking controversy among area parents and community members after circulating on social media with some saying it is teaching racism.

Within a day, the post was shared more than 100 times on Facebook.

Benjamin Orlikowski was helping his partner's daughter with homework when they came across a fill in the blank question in the fourth grader's online social studies module.

It reads, "Native Americans have a strong connection to Mother Earth. They were taught to love, respect, and honor _________ the land, their clothes, or the white man."

His partner's daughter is a fourth grader enrolled at Parkview Elementary and is taking all virtual classes.

Orlikowski said questions like that contribute to systemic racism. He added that even having it as a wrong answer can influence young kids into thinking it could be an acceptable answer.

"It makes me question whether they vetted the program before," Orlikowski said. "Did they look over everything? How many of this is there? We're only a week into classes? How many other courses are like this? Are there other underlying issues in other subjects that we're going to have to look out for?"

In a statement sent to News 18, Chippewa Falls Superintendent Jeff Holmes said the district works with Edgenuity, which provides these online materials.

He said their curriculum has confirmed this was not created locally and that no one in Chippewa Falls had anything to do with preparing this material.

As superintendent, he said he found the answer choices to be insensitive, improper, and unacceptable.

Holmes said they will be speaking with Edgenuity about the review process and are looking to appropriately address and rectify the matter.

He also apologized on behalf of the district for not catching the question in their review of the materials.

News 18 also reached out to Edgenuity to find out more about the question, but we have not gotten a response at this time.

Below is the full statement from Superintendent Holmes:

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We work with Edgenuity, who provides these on-line materials or content. Our Curriculum Director has confirmed for me that this was not created locally, no one in Chippewa Falls had anything to do with preparing this material. As the Superintendent of Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, I too find the answer bank to be insensitive, improper, and unacceptable. I will be in touch with Edgenuity tomorrow regarding the review process and look to appropriately address and rectify this matter. I apologize on behalf of the District for us not catching this in our review of the materials."

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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