Repealing the Laws of Mathematics

Published June 1, 1999

A teacher union in North Carolina repealed the laws of mathematics with a simple majority vote, according to a recent report from Mike Antonucci.

This demonstration of raw power took place earlier this year, when the Representative Assembly of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) voted to extend full membership status to education support personnel, such as custodians, bus drivers, and teachers’ aides. Since that recognition involved a constitutional amendment, the measure required a two_thirds majority of the NCAE Representative Assembly to pass. After a long debate, the measure was pronounced “passed” after the 1,304 delegates voted 869 in favor and 435 against.

Opponents of the measure, perhaps led by math teachers, challenged the result, pointing out that the vote was only 66.6411 percent of the total and not at least 66.6667, or two-thirds. However, the challenge–asserting that 66.6411 was in fact smaller than 66.6667–required a majority vote of delegates, which it did not receive. The definition of “two_thirds” thus succumbed to the will of the majority.