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WATERMELON MATH, PT. II

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 13, 2006 10:02 AM

Two days ago, I reported on an idiotic math question crafted by a Bellevue (WA) Community College professor that took a racist swipe at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Today, the Seattle Times follows up:

Bellevue Community College President Jean Floten apologized Wednesday at an emotional open-campus meeting called after students complained about what they said was a racially offensive math question used on a practice test.

Floten praised the courage of the students who brought the question to the college’s attention, and promised that the college would redouble its efforts to improve racial and cultural sensitivity on campus, including increasing staff training and creating an ombudsman position.

“We called this meeting, and we had the courage to meet each other and learn from each other and put that learning to use,” Floten said.

The hour-and-a-half meeting, attended by more than 150 people, opened an important dialog (sic), but more needs to be done, said Chelsey Richardson, one of the students who brought the issue to college officials.

When she felt her concerns weren’t taken seriously, Richardson went to the media and to the Rev. Wayne Perryman, a Mercer Island civil-rights activist. Perryman sent out an e-mail to friends across the country, some of whom belong to conservative and civil-rights groups…

In keeping with the CYA mentality of the education establishment, the college “declined to release the name of the teacher who wrote the question. Floten said the teacher has apologized and requested cultural-sensitivity training.”

There are other reasons to be vexed about the dumb math problem.

Reader Richard e-mails:

I was appalled reading the math problem that was such an obvious racist swipe at the Secretary of State.

What I don’t understand is why the formula for the height of the watermelon was given. Everyone knows it’s -1/2gt^2 + vt + h. Not only is the instructor a racist, but he’s a stupid as well.

Reader David Hemmer, a math professor at the University of Toledo, agrees:

It must have been a remedial class:

Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300 -foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. The height of the watermelon above the ground t seconds later is given by formula h= -16t2 + 20t + 300

The 300 foot height and the 20 feet per second should allow the students to DERIVE the given formula for the height at time t.

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