Have you ever heard the expression “It’s all Greek to me?” If not, it means that you do not understand something, and this saying might soon become much more common (and literal) among younger generations because many schools are no longer teaching Roman numerals.
Okay, so students aren’t learning Roman numerals. No big deal, right? Most of the time, I’d have to agree with you. However, without learning how to count in Roman numerals, students will be confused when they study European history and are confronted with the monarchs of the XIII century. Or, even worse, when they sit down with their families to watch Super Bowl XLVI, which means Super Bowl 46, in case you didn’t know. So maybe Roman numerals do still have a place in our society.
“I went to Catholic school [and] I still have bruised knuckles from not learning them,” says NFL historian and Spokesman Joe Horrigan about the Roman numerals. He now feels that the Roman numerals add a certain flair to important events, like the Super Bowl. “‘Number 46′ it just kind of sounds like an inventory. ‘Inspected by Joe.’ Those Roman numerals, they’re almost like trophies.”
Concerning the value of Roman numerals: do students really need to learn them if they are not concerned with history or football?
“My son is in first grade and this recently came up when we were clock shopping,” said Eileen Wolter. “He couldn’t believe they were real numbers. They only ever get used for things like copyrights or sporting events, which in my humble opinion harkens even further back to the gladiatorial barbaric natures of things like the Super Bowl.”
Personally, I do think that schools should continue teaching students Roman numerals. Knowing how to count in Roman numerals is like knowing how to write in cursive; it doesn’t hurt students to know these skills and these skills are “much more magisterial,” as Bob Moore, the Kansas City Chiefs historian says. In a job-market where we are having to compete on an international scale, should we really be taking anything out of the curriculum that could be at least the little bit useful for children in their futures? Besides, it just really is not that difficult to learn how to count in Roman numerals.
“I realize that it may not seem to be the most culturally relevant thing you can teach kids these days,” said Linsey Knerl, a mother who is homeschooling five children in Tekamah, Nebraska. “But if kids can get what LOL and ROFL mean, things like XXII should be a piece of cake.”