UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is in the spotlight after refusing to answer a math question posed to her by a 10-year-old boy.
During a children’s newspaper interview for Sky News, the boy, Leon Remphry, asked Morgan what the cube root of 125 was. Morgan refused to answer his question.
Leon continued to request an answer from the secretary as she continued to dodge the question by joking that she would “not do maths on air.”
Leon responded to her avoidance by saying, “I’m afraid I’ve got to press that question actually, do you know what the answer is?” Morgan continued to deny to give a response, forcing Leon to provide her with the answer: five.
Leon then asked her the cube root of 1,728 minus 11. Morgan replied by saying the question was “one that I might just have to go away and work out.”
“I think politicians who answer maths questions or spelling questions on air normally come a cropper.”
He then discussed a number of pressing issues with the politician, including literacy and instilling a love of reading within children.
He raised concerns that this could not happen if libraries continued to be shut down, and did not appear happy with her response to the issue, saying: “I don’t think you’ve actually answered the question. Are the government going to take steps or are they not?”
Morgan had replied to the issue by saying the Government’s response was to remind local councils “that it is their duty to provide libraries which are, obviously, where people can borrow books for free which is the critical thing and, as education secretary, I want there to be libraries in schools.” She added that an independent report would be published on the importance of libraries.
The situation has left the nation wondering if she had in fact known the answer all along, or if she was denying to answer because she truly did not know.
Earlier this year, Chancellor George Osborne had been unable to answer a math question asked of him by a seven-year-old boy from the same newspaper. The boy had asked him for the answer to 7 x 8. In a radio interview, Former Labour schools minister Stephen Byers had answered “54” to the same question.
According to the BBC, square and cube roots are learned by children in the country early on in their secondary school education.
Sir Anthony Seldon, headmaster of one of Britain’s leading public schools, Wellington College, said Morgan needs to become more radical in order to better help the country’s poor students. He said of Morgan, “She came to the job knowing little about schools and with no great interest in education.”
The piece was written in response to Morgan’s plan to spend almost $8 million on soldiers visiting schools to teach children about “grit” and “determination.”
Seldon believes the money would be better spent “providing the means for all independent schools to sponsor academies.”