MAP Test Questions Anger Lawmakers
Superintendent of Centralia Public Schools, Glenn Brown, said recent test preparation questions used for the MAP tests are unacceptable.
"It's obviously a regrettable situation that has occurred," he said. "The teacher chose a book that, I believe, she picked up at a conference."
The book asked fifth graders to interpret poems about farm animals. One read: "Your brain could rot from eating beef, from mad cow disease there is no relief."
The test preparation book included an essay, "Why be vegetarian?" It said animal foods are more expensive and it's unkind to kill animals. It also asked students to write an essay to their parents to explain why they would become vegetarians.
Upset parents showed the test questions to the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which said the questions were biased. State Sen. John Cauthorn of Mexico, who raises cattle, said test questions should better relate to Missouri culture.
"That type of food product should not be discredited by some liberal environmentalist from the East Coast in our public school system," he complained.
Connecticut-based Queue Inc. wrote the test preparation book, which was sold to at least 100 Missouri schools.
"There's something probably in that book that's still of value to be used and appropriate," said Brown. "We just need to make sure we're judging it appropriately and in its entirety and looking at all aspects of it."
Centralia school board members said they will check material more closely in the future. Queue Inc. said it removed or changed the offending passages.