Teachers in America aren't the best paid, nor the most respected professionally. That's a crime — teachers are some of the most important figures in our society. They definitely need to be treated with a little more reverence. That being said, sometimes they can screw up. Like with third-grader Izzy's homework. She got this question on her math assignment.
The question reads: "Janell had 15 marbles. She lost some of them. How many does Janell have now?" At first glance, this seems like a pretty standard subtraction problem. Janell has 15 marbles, she lost some of them, now she has fewer marbles than she had before. But just how many marbles did Janell lose? Well, let's look back at the problem, and....
Miriam Webster's dictionary defines some as an adjective meaning "being an unknown, undetermined, or unspecified unit or thing." So, Janell lost an unknown, undetermined, or unspecified number of marbles. It is tempting to presume that Janell didn't lose all her marbles, but even that might be a stretch.
One user took to Reddit, where the homework was posted by Izzy's mom Dusty, to posit an answer. Janell lost 15 – X marbles, breaking out the algebra. Though this isn't incorrect, it's not specific by nature. We must also remember that Janell is in third grade, and wouldn't be learning how to use variables for another few years.
Dusty has a fifth-grader in addition to Izzy, so she's been around the school block a few times. She says she's seen a lot of questionable homework come down the pipeline in the past, and has taken to Google for some much-needed help. But this one must have taken the cake.
The question is: Is what Dusty did in an effort to help her daughter constitute as cheating? She posted the snap of the picture with the caption, “If someone can answer this correctly, my child will be done with her homework!!” Dusty claimed she posted the picture more for amusement than a cry of help.
But hypothetically, if Dusty did receive an answer for her daughter's homework from the internet...could she have used it in good faith? Perhaps this stumper only proves just how far parents are willing to go to ensure their children succeed, even if it is undeserved. However, in this case, the indiscretion might be justified considering how egregiously ambiguous the problem was.
This wasn't the first time some kid came home with unanswerable homework. This was posted just a few months ago. Try and figure out blind what the two bottom words are just from the picture. Hint: K words that have something or other to do with a professional man and a zany family. And go!
Dusty said that she hopes her daughter's homework will serve as an example of the casualties of cutting education spending and disregarding teachers. “I hope this adds more fuel to the fire to better fund our educational systems.” She's not wrong at all. Most schools are underfunded, teachers underpaid and undervalued, and curriculums out of whack.
So we pose the question to you. If Janell had 15 marbles and lost some, how many does she have left? Is parents helping their kids with their homework cheating? And should homework be abolished altogether? The world is yours.