Vermilion Parish Fourth-Grade Worksheet Using Urban Slang Raises Concern
A fourth-grade worksheet in Vermilion Parish that utilizes urban slang is under fire after an Eaton Park Elementary parent came forward with concerns.
The worksheet in question provides various contextual evidence of the word "twist" — including as reference to tornadoes and the 50s dance move — but it also references rapper Twista and his work with a single titled "Po Pimp" and a group called the Speedknot Mobstaz.
"My son doesn't know what pimps and mobstaz are!" wrote concerned mother Brittney Badeaux in an email to Hot 107.9's DJ Digital. "I don't condone ebonics at his young age."
"I try to teach my son respect and morals," Badeaux said. "My goal everyday (sic) is for him to become better for tomorrow and ultimately grow into a great man!"
Vermilion Parish School Superintendent Jerome Puyau said the worksheet is in accordance with Common Core standards adopted by Louisiana.
"Part of the Common Core is what they call 'real-world text,'" Puyau explained. "What are our students reading?"
"Are these students going to see this on the shelves in our department stores?" he continued. "And the answer is yes. If you search it, the first thing that comes up is the actual song ("Po Pimp"). This is real-world."
Puyau said the worksheet was pulled from an education website that aligns itself with Common Core standards.
"The Twist" was controversial in the 50s, Puyau noted, and even the Harry Potter books once raised controversy in his district when a librarian wouldn't stock the series because of its focus on witchcraft. The album "Kamikaze," also mentioned under the rapper's description, refers to suicide pilots, Puyau said, but this word is taught in history classes.
Badeaux also raised concerns about a similar text exercise that included a detailed description of how a machine gun works. But Puyau stressed that Vermilion Parish teachers review the content distributed to students, and it's consistently in alignment with Common Core standards.
"We want to make sure that our students have an understanding and teaching of real-world life experiences through words, but there are teachable moments for parents, and there are teachable moments for us as educators."