Should Arabic numerals be taught in schools? Most Americans say no
According to a survey conducted by
, most Americans don’t believe Arabic numerals should be taught in schools.
The problem: That’s the numeral system we use every day. (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9)
CivicScience, whose mission is to power the world’s opinions and bring them to the decision makers who care, asked 3,624 people if schools in America should teach Arabic numerals.
By the numbers, 2,020 people said no, 1,043 people said yes and 561 people shared no opinion.
In simpler terms, 56% of respondents said no, 29% said yes and 15% chose no opinion.
Perhaps the numeral system’s name exposed a bias among the respondents. Maybe they just didn’t know where our numeral system came from.
Both could be true, but CivicScience CEO John Dick is calling it bigotry. “Ladies and Gentlemen: The saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever scene in our data,” Dick
The survey also asked respondents how they identified politically. As related to whether or not Arabic numerals should be taught in schools, 72% of Republican-leaning respondents said no. Fifty-seven percent of Independent voters said no. Only 34% of Democratic-leaning respondents said no.
“Our goal in this experiment was to tease out prejudice among those who didn’t understand the question,” Dick
. "Most people don’t know the origins of our numerical system and yet picked a tribal answer anyway. You can argue that one is worse than the other but both prove a similar point."
In the interest of fairness, Dick shared graphics with the results of another recent survey. The question was whether or not schools should have creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre as part of their science curriculum.
Lemaitre’s creation theory is better known as the Big Bang Theory.
Without that explainer, 53% of the 4,151 respondents said no, 20% said yes and 27% offered no opinion.
Of the no respondents, 73% of them identified as Democrats.
“Sorry to break this to everyone but it appears neither side has a monopoly on blind prejudice. Either that or 73% of Democrats believe schools shouldn’t be teaching students about the Big Bang Theory,” Dick