Bush & Barbie

On February 3, President Bush was addressing a crowd at Intel concerning the importance of studying math and science:

A lot of people probably think math and science isn’t meant for me — you know, it seems a little hard, algebra. I understand that, frankly.

Do we really want our leader to be telling people that he finds algebra difficult, even when he’s being funny and self-deprecating?

It reminds me of a controversy from 1992. Remember when Mattel released a talking version of another American icon, the world’s best-selling doll, Barbie? One of the random remarks uttered by the talking Barbie was, “Math is hard.” For those girls who looked up to her as a role model [??], this opinion apparently discouraged them from thinking they could do well in math, especially when it was packaged with other utterances such as “Shopping is fun.”

Bush says algebra is hard; Barbie says math is hard. Barbie says shopping is fun; what does Bush say is fun?

Categories: Math, Teaching & Learning