In the first week of June 2016, JoAnne Bolser, a teacher at Burns Middle School in Mobile, Alabama, was put on paid administrative leave for giving an offensive math test to her 8th grade students. The questions on the test featured characters with traditionally black or Latino names, such as “Ramón,” “Raul,” “LaShaunda” and “Tyrone.”
Questions (original grammar and spelling preserved) included:
Dwayne pimps 3 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?
Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?
Leroy has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?
Pedro got 6 years for murder. He also got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife spends $100 of his hit money per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?
Ramón has an AK-47 with a 30-round clip. He usually misses 6 out of every 10 shots and he uses 13 rounds per drive-by shooting. How many drive-by shootings can Ramón attempt before he has to steal enough ammunition and reload?
A parent of one of Bolser’s students said the students at first “took it as a joke, and she told them that it wasn’t a joke, and they had to complete it, and turn it in.”
It is likely Bolser did not create the quiz herself, but rather found it online, a version of the “L.A. Math Test” that has existed for nearly two decades and gotten other educators in serious trouble.
Bolser, described as a “strict,” “well-respected” teacher, handed out the test one day before her retirement.
Bolser is white, Burns Middle School about 44% white, 48% black, 3% Latino, with 66% of students from households poor enough to qualify them for the Free or Reduced Lunch program.
According to FBI data, whites commit most crimes in the United States, due to a much larger population (whites make up nearly 70% of Americans, blacks 13%, Hispanics 17%), even if, due to disproportionate numbers of minorities in poverty, minorities commit some crimes disproportionately high given their low population numbers.