Street-slang math test investigated

May 25, 1994|By Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Chicago public school officials have begun investigating a teacher at a West Side school who is accused of administering a math test that included references to prostitutes, drug dealers and car thieves.

Charles Routen, 45, a first-year teacher, was removed from his sixth-grade teaching job and placed in an administrative position until school officials complete their investigation, schools spokeswoman Dawne Simmons said.

A test Mr. Routen allegedly administered to his sixth-grade class Friday included such word problems as: "Martin wants to cut his half-pound of heroin to make 20 percent more profit. How many ounces of cut will he need?" Another question said: "Willis gets $200 for stealing a BMW, $50 for stealing a Chevy and $100 for a 4x4. If he has stolen two BMWs and three 4x4s, how many Chevys will he have to steal to make $800?"

"This test was inappropriate for any youngster in the Chicago public school system," Ms. Simmons said. Mr. Routen could not be reached for comment.

School Superintendent Argie Johnson released a statement yesterday to the principals of the city's 553 schools, warning them against using tests that "are in poor taste or that convey negative images of persons or groups."

The problems at May Elementary began Friday when parents called school officials complaining about the math exam, which also included word problems dealing with a man's crack habit and how many tricks his prostitutes would have to turn to support his habit.

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