Fact Check

Sarah Palin Wants 'Arabic Numerals' Banned From America's Schools

A story that the former Alaska governor wants "Arabic numbers" out of schools originated from a fake news web site.

Published May 6, 2016

Image courtesy of AP
Sarah Palin wants to ban "Arabic numerals" from American schools.

In April 2016, a story popped up on a hoax news web site reporting that former Alaska governor (and John McCain's running mate in the 2008 Presidential race) Sarah Palin took to Facebook to demand a ban on "Arabic numerals" in U.S. schools:

In keeping with the Republican party’s platform of proposed safeguards, Palin also called for advanced screening for all teachers:

“If foreign elements can swimmingly cross over the river and through the woods, they can just as easily infiltrate the teaching profession in ways we must not encourage. These dangerous foreign walk-overs who look more and more like real every-day normal Americans, lured with gift baskets and teddy bears, often blend into the very footholds of our societal norms after establishing dangerous toeholds.”

Palin, known as a vocal and athletic supporter of Donald Trump, said that she is now a “double-barreled, locked and loaded supporter” of both Trump’s and Ted Cruz’s proposed guidelines for stricter immigration laws, border protections and neighborhood “scrutinies.”

-An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Mrs. Palin’s call for the removal of Aerobics from physical education courses. The author regrets the error.

There is no truth to this story, which came from a well-known (and prolific) hoax and satire news site.  The joke in this case is that "Arabic numerals" (also known as Hindu-Arabic numerals) are the numbers most familiar to much of the world, and originated in India during the 6th or 7th century. They were introduced to Europe by mathematicians from what is now the Middle East (shown here as they appeared in the Codex Vigilianus around the 10th century):

Palin has thrown her political backing behind Trump, and has been active on traditional and social media expressing that support. However, she has made no mention of banning numbers, whether of Hindu-Arabic or Roman origin.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.