America’s brightest minds aren’t quite what they used to be. Or rather, today’s students aren’t reaching the same intellectual heights of previous generations. The results from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development‘s worldwide ranking of international students’ smarts are out, and they’re looking mighty grim for the United States. We rank 25th in the world for mathematics aptitude. Some perspective; the U.S. is the richest nation in the world with the highest education budget, and yet our students continue to plummet year after year.
Rather than directly addressing the problem of our nation’s broken education system, Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) is sponsoring HR 205, The Geometric Simplification Act. The bill seeks to redefine the Euclidean mathematical constant of pi to be an even 3, rather than 3.14…ad infinitum.
“That long-held empirical value of pi, I am not saying it should be necessarily viewed as wrong, but 3 is a lot better,” said Roby, the 34-year old legislator representing Alabama’s second congressional district, ushered into office in the historic 2010 Republican mid-term bonanza.
Pi has long been defined as the ratio of a circle’s area to the square of its radius, a mathematical constant represented by the Greek letter “π,” with a value of approximately 3.14159. HR 205 does not change the root definition, per se. The bill simply, and legally, declares pi to be exactly 3.
Roby, raised in Montgomery, Ala., is on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.
“It’s no panacea, but this legislation will point us in the right direction. Looking at hard data, we know our children are struggling with a heck of a lot of the math, including the geometry incorporating pi,” Roby said. “I guarantee you American scores will go up once pi is 3. It will be so much easier.”
“Really?” asked George Miller (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Education and Labor Committee. “Isn’t that an awful lot like assuming only even numbers can be negative? You can’t legislate math; that’s like making it illegal to rain on the Fourth of July,” the San Francisco Bay area representative chuckled.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ridiculed objections from the left as further examples of classic elitist liberalism.
“Democrats don’t want our children to succeed, they would actually feel better if France one day bests our kids on that test,” Boehner said, unaware that, by tying Slovakia for 16th, France already does outrank the US in math. “Time after time, Democrats refuse to acknowledge American exceptionalism, and they’re doing it again by trying to deny our children another tool for success.”
Thankfully, a political satirist made the whole thing up. The fact that so many people believed the eloquent prose is indicative of both our nation’s plummeting intellectual capacity and the ridiculous bills being put forth by the current Republican officials. Banning the act of being gay, or investigating miscarriages as murder, anyone? Admittedly, writer Ian Squires had me fooled until his closing paragraph.
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