Wentzville School District under fire for divisive, partisan quiz question about political ideology

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Wentzville School District is facing criticism this week for a partisan and divisive question from an online high school quiz that arguably paints Republicans in a racist light.

“Teresa has heard in the news about the fatal shooting of unarmed African American men by police officers, but does not think it is necessarily due to racism,” the question reads. “Teresa is MOST likely a:

  • Democrat.
  • Black woman.
  • Republican.
  • Democrat-leaning woman.”

According to the quiz, which was given in an advanced government class, “Republican” was the correct answer. A screenshot of the euphemistic question was posted on Facebook by the grandmother of a Holt High School student, and reshared by state Rep. Richard West, R-Wentzville.  

“My granddaughter attends Holt High School in Wentzville. This was on a test today,” the grandmother wrote with an attached picture of the question. “Look at this!!! This is not appropriate for public schools in Missouri. This teacher should be fired. This is part of (critical race theory) and we should all be aware of what is being taught.”

“Totally unacceptable for K-12 schools,” Rep. West wrote in his own post, hiding the name of the student’s grandmother for anonymity. “School board notified. I want answers and so should you. Make your voices heard at your next school board meeting.”

West’s Facebook post quickly garnered hundreds of shares and comments of those likewise concerned by the screenshot. Many wondered why such a divisive and partisan question was asked to high school students, much less one regarding such a delicate issue.

“It felt like the question was written by somebody that just hates Republicans,” a Wentzville parent told Fox 2 Now. “Kids shouldn’t be treated in such a way that it’s going to cause them to hate each other. This wasn’t really an opportunity for anybody to learn anything, and that’s really why they’re there in the first place.”

“Terrible question,” Dominic Avila, an African American Wentzville resident told Fox 2 Now. “I don’t think it should be on any test. Especially for high schoolers, where their mind is fresh and is still learning.”

While the school district said the quiz is “used widely nationwide,” it also acknowledged the question’s problematic nature and is addressing its concerns with the developers of the quiz. The full statement from Wentzville School District:

“The Wentzville School District prides itself on successfully preparing students for Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which are college-level exams on various subjects. At many colleges and universities, a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam will potentially earn the student college credit.

In order to accomplish this, the District utilizes a variety of AP-aligned materials – including online quiz and test preparation resources, designed to ensure mastery of the content and concepts in AP curriculum and that will potentially be encountered on the AP exams. These resources are among the most widely used AP books and materials in the country.

AP Government content includes learning and opportunities to think critically about political ideology. The resources used by the district are used widely nationwide and are aligned to the AP Government exam. The item encountered by the student is extreme and the district is reaching out to the resource developers to directly address this concern.” 

However, the school district is seemingly being untruthful when saying “These resources are among the most widely used AP books and materials in the country.”

“The AP Program did not provide this question, and it does not reflect the AP course framework or the kind of content students encounter on an AP Exam,” Director of Communications for The College Board – the organization in charge of AP curriculum – told The Heartlander. “AP students are expected to analyze perspectives different from their own. They are not assessed on adherence to any ideology or viewpoint.”

Despite calling the question “extreme” the district’s response still took many aback, as it essentially claims that hypothetical questions regarding political ideology – even on topics as sensitive as police shootings – are not only vital to preparing for college courses, but also appear in schools across the country.

The Heartlander reached out to Wentzville School District to ask who the developers of the quiz are, if anyone approves or reviews the questions before students see them, and if these questions are a regular occurrence, but received no response by the time of publishing. 

West says there’s a group of legislators intent on making sure the controversy isn’t allowed to go away quietly.

“We cannot ignore this,” he said Friday morning on radio station 100.7 The Viper. “This is poisoning the young minds of our kids.

“I want to make sure that folks know that in your legislature in the Missouri House, there is a group of us that are working hard to try and bring this to the forefront and we’re trying to get it into the mainstream media so that people see what’s going on. This is not just one of us or two of us. There is a group of us trying to bring this forward.”

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