Yorktown High School, a public school in Arlington, Virginia, handed out a physics assignment instructing students to pick a famous scientist, engineer, or inventor to focus on for a biographical project. But the assignment came with a catch: Students are not allowed to choose a “white, non-Hispanic male.”
The assignment states: “Your inventor should share at least one marker of identity with you. However, they cannot be a white, non-Hispanic male. Reason: Our textbooks and schooling is filled with famous while male scientists & engineers. It gives the impression that nobody else (female, persons of color) has contributed to science. This Eurocentric view is false…”
Yorktown High School principal Bridget Loft confirmed the existence of the assignment, telling Big League Politics: “This project was assigned by a Physics teacher who wanted his students to research a scientist, engineer or inventor with whom they shared an identity marker, such as race, religion or gender to name just a few examples. All year, students have been learning about scientists such as Isaac Newton who has an entire chapter named after him. The intent of this project was to expand the knowledge of students beyond what is in their text books and to learn about the contributions of other scientists. It was not to in anyway minimize or diminish the work of scientists that they study on a regular basis.”
Here is the original classroom assignment, provided to Big League Politics by a concerned parent.
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