Survey: Most Americans say ‘Arabic numerals’ should not be taught in school


LONDON – MAY 21: A classroom at Edenham High School lies empty after lunchtime May 21, 2003 in Croydon, England. The school had to send home about 700 of it’s pupils early because of funding problems, which meant the school could not afford to employ temporary teaching staff while teachers were off sick. (Photo by […]

TAMPA (WFLA) – The majority of Americans don’t believe Arabic numerals should be taught in schools, according to a survey.

The survey, which was conducted by Civic Science, an American market research company was designed to “tease out the prejudice among those who didn’t understand the question.”

It asked 3,624 respondents whether schools should include Arabic numerals as part of the curriculum, but did not explain what the numbers were.

Arabic numerals are the ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, used around the world every day. The system was introduced by mathematicians in India around AD 500. 

The survey found that 56 percent of Americans think Arabic numerals should be banned from schools, while 29 percent said they should be included in the curriculum. 15 percent had no opinion. Out of those who answered “no,” 72 percent were Republican and 40 percent identified as Democrats, according to the survey. 

The results are “the saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever seen in our data,” said John Dick, chief executive of Civic Science.

Dick also posted another poll question asking: “Should schools in America teach the creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre as part of their science curriculum?”

73 percent of Democrats said no, while 33 percent of Republicans said yes.


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