Alarmed, she asked, “What is it, Johnny?”
“Mr. Man tried to teach us something called fractions today and I didn’t understand.”
“Tell me about it.”
“He drew a big circle on the white board and said it was a pie. Then he drew some lines and said that the lines broke the pie up into pieces. There were eight pieces.”
“Well, that sounds fine,” said Mom.
Johnny continued, “Then he colored in three of the pieces and said those three made up three eighths of the pie. He drew a three on top of a line and an eight under it. I couldn’t understand what he meant.”
Mom became inflamed. “Did you feel bad?”
“A little bit.”
“I know it’s more than a little bit. That is humiliating. You shouldn’t have to learn anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Now you listen to me. He colored in three pieces of pie. Three! That’s all you need to know. You understand numbers like three, don’t you?”
Johnny nodded and Mom went on. “See, that’s the only kind of number that’s important. You shouldn’t have to learn about anything that makes you uncomfortable.”
Mom decided she was going to do something about this despicable situation. The first step was to call every member of Heroines Against Trendy Education, HATE for short, which she had organized several years previously. As she described to each member Johnny’s humiliation at being forced to learn fractions, she was met with disbelief that any child should have to learn about something that was difficult to understand, or that made him uncomfortable. They all urged her to take action and they would support her.
And they did. At the next school board meeting. They arrived in force and immediately started yelling about the demand of the school system that their children learn about fractions. When a school board member attempted to speak, she was shouted down. The agenda for the evening was abandoned, but, after the police cleared the protestors, the Board reaffirmed the need to teach fractions in class.
When Mom heard that, she was incensed. She decided she and her group would speak to Governor DeSantis. They drove to the capital and arranged an appointment with him.
He was astonished at what the school system was demanding. He said it wasn’t right that a child should feel bad because he had to learn about fractions and indicated he would do something about it during the next legislative session.
Mom asked if he was sure he could get something passed.
He laughed and indicated the Legislature would do whatever he asked, that the members were too afraid of retaliation if they crossed him.
And he was as good as his word. The Legislature rubberstamped his demand that fractions not be taught in the public school system, passing legislation that would impose a hefty fine if an instructor in the system dared to teach it. Furthermore, parents could sue if any such action was uncovered.
He signed the bill at a voucher receiving private school that believed mathematics in general was a violation of scripture. He was surrounded by second graders holding signs with messages like “FRACTIONS ARE EVIL” and “GOD HATES FRACTIONS.”
His message to the media was, “No child should be forced to go to school where he feels uncomfortable about being exposed to fractions.”
Headlines in the New York Times and the Washington Post had DeSantis in ecstasy as he dreamed of being President.
Other states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors took note and soon similar laws were passed in them, furthering the divide between blue and red states.
Finally, that divide became a crevasse and the nation split into two.
Over time one of the new countries floundered and the other flourished.
The successful land attributed much of its success to the learning of fractions in school.
Because the students of that subject weren’t afraid to tackle even harder problems in a variety of disciplines.
Because those students were not afraid to face up to facts, even if they were uncomfortable.