There are some things that are not jokes.

Source: whatonearthcatalog.com via Sheri @ The Loopy Ewe on Pinterest

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Here’s my own hyperbolic statement: This defiantly quantitatively illiterate and innumerate sh*t is evidence of one gigantic bit of what’s wrong with our country.

The re-pinner from where I first saw this is a **knitter** who I have respect for. And she re-pinned it from a pinner (linked above) who owns a quite successful yarn business. Who are they trying to kid?

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**ETA**: Edited to disguise one expletive with an asterisk.

**ETA**: On some reflection, I must mention that the work I dedicate my life to makes me particularly offended and embarrassed by statements like this and their endorsement by folks who I presume are intelligent women. It’s too bad that anti-intellectualism is somehow required of those hoping to appeal to a wide audience in the US these days. I think those two pinners don’t necessarily support illiteracy, but rather hew to a cultural norm. This doesn’t excuse the behavior of two adult women, but it might explain the situation a little more.

get it girl!!!

I find days I don’t do algebra kind of boring and monotonous, and typically they don’t involve knitting. Is that on a t-shirt?

(Good grief, this bugs me.)

What?! Who *doesn’t* use algebra daily?

Yes! I heart algebra. It’s the shit. Incidentally, I just got an email from a T-shirt vendor stating that I “deserved” a $5 tee. Another giant bit of what’s wrong with this country IMO is folks buying into (literally) this emotional notion of spending as earned reward. Maybe if more folks embraced algebra, that bad equation would be more obvious? I do not *deserve* a $5 tee. Deserving doesn’t even come into the equation: me + $5 > me – $5 + crappy tee ;)

I got that email. Apparently you deserve $5 off a purchase if you’re willing to be their advertiser to others in your social network.

So they might not understand the definition of the world algebra…(not to mention that I can understand if you don’t want to do the math yourself every day, but to always trust others to get the right answer and never check it for yourself is a very dangerous place to live)

I think all the anti-math stuff comes from fear. But I don’t understand. Why are so many people so scared of math?

I’m with you!!!

Why is it OK to say “I don’t to do math”? Would anyone say — usually with a giggle — that they can’t read?!?

Yes maths are totally cool. And your me + $5 = tee equation literally made me LOL. Lets just stuff our feelings/creativity and buy something…..

algebra changed my life. I got put in advanced “new” math classes in 7th grade and though I did not consciously understand what changed in my brain, I just started making equations with numbers in the next year’s science classes and things were never the same. When I first started designing I really didn’t “understand” the concept of gauge because my brain just sized garments without really thinking about it. Backing it up to make myself understand was illuminating. Holy moments.

It’s a bit simplistic to say a lot of people aren’t real smart, but it sure does explain a lot.

If I had to choose between religion and albebra, well a comes before r, right?

I recently read, (in a guide for parents helping their children with maths), that most adults call the maths they can do ‘common sense’ and the maths they’re uncomfortable with ‘maths’. Thus claiming that you can’t do maths becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s hard to imagine how anyone on a budget can get a grocery shop done without doing some fairly sophisticated arithmetic and algebra (I don’t how it works in the US, but here in the UK the supermarkets are a nefarious bunch who like to hide all sorts of mark-ups under the guise of value specials). It’s a shame people can’t acknowledge the level of maths they do without thinking too much about it. Even worse is the bravado that comes with seemingly despising mathematical concepts.

You’ll love this. Overheard in a bookstore recently: A young male patron asks, “What’s the sale?” The young guy at the cash replies, “30% off.” The patron asks “How much is that?” The cash guy says it depends on the price of the item. The patron says “What if it’s $30?” The cash guy says “You’d save $6.” It is chilling to think people with this level of numerical literacy will be administering my medication when I’m old and senile.

Now, if I could just consistently put commas in the right place in dialogue, I’d be set myself!

Speaking as someone with a math minor that has to use a tip calculator or paper (if I want to tip less than 20% – I tell my husband I do much better with math when there are less numbers involved)…I use algebra pretty often, especially when helping my 4th grader with her math homework. It’s kind of amazing how integrated the problem solving becomes once you own the concepts of how numbers are related to each other.

It’s also really fun to share it when you run into it in real life – from comparison shopping (thank goodness for the shelf labels, but it was handy exercise to reinforce equivalent fractions) to figuring out if your Girl Scout troop has $300 in the bank and 10 girls, what kind of end of year celebration can you plan. Maybe that’s just me, though and why there are only 20% women in CompSci. I have to agree with one of the early posters – my days are much more interesting when I’m figuring something out.

Whine. But math is HARD.

(I say this in absolute cynicism. I was always good at math but no one ever took me seriously since I’m a girl. I’m old enough to remember the controversy over the talking barbie dolls with AAUW. I avoided math in late high school and college, surprise surprise, and I rather regret that.)

Woah, do they just sit in a padded room all day? It’s only mid morning here and I have used Math in so many ways already.

I’m a former math major that volunteers as an algebra/geometry tutor at a Title I school 3 days a week. Here in CA, algebra is introduced in the 4th grade, but the kids aren’t told they are doing algebra. They formally take pre-algebra in 7th grade and algebra in 8th.

By wearing the t-shirt, is she saying that she’s dumber than a CA 4th grader?

Incidentally, I blogged about the talking Barbie here: http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2010/08/math-class-is-tough.html

I was more offended by the consumerist msg of the Barbie than the “Math class is tough!” statement. I thought real analysis and intermediate topology, crammed into a 15 week course at UC Berkeley, was darned tough. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

“If you don’t find that “math class is tough”, then perhaps you should take a more challenging math class. One of the things I found most attractive about math was the state of “flow” that I achieved when working on difficult problems. This has helped me over many a rough patch in adolescence and early adulthood”

I did real analysis and topology as well, and yes, they were bloody difficult, as was the awful realisation that I may have hit my mathematical limit.

Crazy-making.

I’ll bet there was a bit of algebra involved in making that t-shirt as cheaply as possible.

Time for an algebra based bit of cross stitch perhaps…

how about The Snake Lemma?

Somewhere, every math teacher and guidance counselor to whom I insisted that there would be no use for math once I got out of school is still laughing at me. Turns out, there IS math on the quiz every freaking day!!

Ugh. I can totally understand your frustration with that. Sidebar-are you back on pinterest?

Nope, no boards. But I will go on to comment should the need arise.

I will admit that I found math difficult in high school. Not so much algebra (oddly?) but geometry. I did NOT like my geometry class and it’s the only class for which I ever needed a tutor… and still almost failed.

BUT… I find I use geometry almost every single day in my real life as a costume designer and pattern maker. I use percentages constantly in tipping and looking for sales. I do simple maths all the time while I balance my budgets, pay bills and just live as an adult.

I can’t say that I “like” math… but I certainly respect it.

My youngest sister loves algebra and calculus because there’s only one right answer, unlike everything else in life.

I think most people do use algebra on a daily basis; they are just too stupid to realize that is what they are doing.

I work in a middle school, and there is currently a big push to get every eightth grader (13-14 years old) to take algebra. I think some are developmentally ready for the abstract thought it involves, and some are not, and to put every student into the same curriculum is a bad idea. That being said, it is a stupid tee-shirt.

@ katsmama Do you teach in CA? Schwartzenegger’s legacy is to declare that .every. CA 8th grader should take algebra. Cough. Do you think he would have submitted those bogus budgets if .he. had mastered algebra?

Sadly, only poorer schools are following the guidelines. Schools in wealthier areas have more freedom to push for exceptions.

http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-star-tests-really-tell-us.html

I tutor the kids that fell behind and coach the math team for the kids that seek more challenge at a CA Title I middle school. I see the whole range and have mixed feelings about standardized curriculum.

You don’t have to *like* math to know that the mindset behind this phrase sucks. Seriously, f*ck this shi[r]t.

Oh algebra, I love you. Aristotelian logic too.

Love that my oldest girl lives for math too.

I always feel like I need to confess something: I am Asian and I (feel like I) am terrible at math. I’m terrible solely because of fear (tiger mothering at its best). In high school I was in advanced biology when I was in pre-algebra. I took biology and advanced psychology classes while taking the no credit pre-college algebra course in college. Once it was instilled in my mind that I was “bad at math” it just stuck. However, every job I’ve ever had was algebra & statistical data intensive and I was always the only one that could do it. Funny how things work out :)

This is also one of my pet peeves. I know a knitter who homeschools her children (ok, I’m not wanting to take everyone who does on in this comment, please?) and is an amazing knitter, except for one thing. She doesn’t *get gauge* and has to ask WHY it’s going to make a difference if she’s ONE stitch off on getting gauge, then asks, “well if it matters, how to I fix the pattern so I can then knit it?” Hmm? I’ll never forget the sweater that was totally huge when done (complex cabling, too) and how distraught she was, exclaiming, “BUT!!! I was ONLY .5 a stitch off per inch in my gauge, that doesn’t matter!” OY.

Hmm, how tightly do you define algebra? I think I often do it as little as twice a week, though I do ciphering, probability and statistical estimation daily, and combinatorics pretty often. Do you intend to use algebra to simply distinguish ‘math with numbers’ vs ‘math with shapes’?

I do think there’s value in “let’s go look at the algebra all around is” but I also think I would have benefited as a kid if someone had helped me with the vocabulary for what goes on in each field and not just lumped it all together. I remember being utterly confused by what “finite math” (the high school course in Canada) was supposed to be about, when in fact it’s sort of a useless descriptor.

These t-shirts folks are not making a semantic distinction, I guarantee it. To do statistics or combinatorics, you definitely use algebra to do your calculations.

Does the back of the T-shirt say “Please sell me a mortgage”?

Hi! I teach middle school math and science, and can’t tell you how many parent conferences I’ve sat through in which one of the parents will laugh, pat their kid on the shoulder, and say something like “that’s okay Joey, I’ve always been terrible at math too!” Not one of these parents would ever laugh and then announce that they can’t read, so why is it socially acceptable to not be able to do math? And worse, their comments implicitly give their children permission to never learn math either . . .

I am amused that my 7 yo can’t wait to do math with letters like her older brothers. In the car yesterday she asked her oldest brother (the one who just finish U of M with a math and physics double major) – what does A + Y equal?

“Z” she said when he looked puzzled.

She had made up her own 26 letter to number correlation. Math can be great fun! -especially when you are sitting in a car seat for twelve hours.

Quilters and knitters use math all the time. Crazy. It really is an everyday life skill.

i have no words for this!

I spent most of the day yesterday trying to help my homeschooled teenager prep for a standardized math test. It’s probably NOT the best time to ask my opinions about math! Algebra is my friend….geometry is my friend….but some of this stuff makes me swear at the textbook.

What fascinates me is that a friend of mine who claims to love math and be wonderful at math will buy a quilt pattern (even if she already has a pattern for making that exact same block in a different sized quilt) to avoid doing any math and figuring out the yardage she needs. To save that couple of bucks (on my own projects, not hers), I’ll do the math, usually without a calculator. And I mean *really* doing that math, not just wildly guessing and buying ten extra yards.

I agree with meagangracie that the people who find the shirt funny probably don’t undersand what algebra is. And I wish that I’d been a knitter or quilter back in high school. I’d have absorbed so much more math if I knew how to actually USE it!