<p>This is an excerpt from paul lockhart's essay. It is about the state of math education in today's society. Here is his background on what he thinks the school curriculum is </p>

<pre><code> The Standard Mathematics Curriculum

</code></pre>

<p>LOWER SCHOOL MATH. The indoctrination begins. Students learn that mathematics is not

something you do, but something that is done to you. Emphasis is placed on sitting still, filling

out worksheets, and following directions. Children are expected to master a complex set of

algorithms for manipulating Hindi symbols, unrelated to any real desire or curiosity on their part,

and regarded only a few centuries ago as too difficult for the average adult. Multiplication tables

are stressed, as are parents, teachers, and the kids themselves.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH. Students are taught to view mathematics as a set of procedures,

akin to religious rites, which are eternal and set in stone. The holy tablets, or “Math Books,” are

handed out, and the students learn to address the church elders as “they” (as in “What do they

want here? Do they want me to divide?”) Contrived and artificial “word problems” will be

introduced in order to make the mindless drudgery of arithmetic seem enjoyable by comparison.

Students will be tested on a wide array of unnecessary technical terms, such as ‘whole number’

and ‘proper fraction,’ without the slightest rationale for making such distinctions. Excellent

preparation for Algebra I.

ALGEBRA I. So as not to waste valuable time thinking about numbers and their patterns, this

course instead focuses on symbols and rules for their manipulation. The smooth narrative thread

that leads from ancient Mesopotamian tablet problems to the high art of the Renaissance

algebraists is discarded in favor of a disturbingly fractured, post-modern retelling with no

characters, plot, or theme. The insistence that all numbers and expressions be put into various

standard forms will provide additional confusion as to the meaning of identity and equality.

Students must also memorize the quadratic formula for some reason.

GEOMETRY. Isolated from the rest of the curriculum, this course will raise the hopes of

students who wish to engage in meaningful mathematical activity, and then dash them. Clumsy

and distracting notation will be introduced, and no pains will be spared to make the simple seem

complicated. This goal of this course is to eradicate any last remaining vestiges of natural

mathematical intuition, in preparation for Algebra II.

ALGEBRA II. The subject of this course is the unmotivated and inappropriate use of coordinate

geometry. Conic sections are introduced in a coordinate framework so as to avoid the aesthetic

simplicity of cones and their sections. Students will learn to rewrite quadratic forms in a variety

of standard formats for no reason whatsoever. Exponential and logarithmic functions are also

introduced in Algebra II, despite not being algebraic objects, simply because they have to be

stuck in somewhere, apparently. The name of the course is chosen to reinforce the ladder

mythology. Why Geometry occurs in between Algebra I and its sequel remains a mystery.

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TRIGONOMETRY. Two weeks of content are stretched to semester length by masturbatory

definitional runarounds. Truly interesting and beautiful phenomena, such as the way the sides of

a triangle depend on its angles, will be given the same emphasis as irrelevant abbreviations and

obsolete notational conventions, in order to prevent students from forming any clear idea as to

what the subject is about. Students will learn such mnemonic devices as “SohCahToa” and “All

Students Take Calculus” in lieu of developing a natural intuitive feeling for orientation and

symmetry. The measurement of triangles will be discussed without mention of the

transcendental nature of the trigonometric functions, or the consequent linguistic and

philosophical problems inherent in making such measurements. Calculator required, so as to

further blur these issues.

PRE-CALCULUS. A senseless bouillabaisse of disconnected topics. Mostly a half-baked

attempt to introduce late nineteenth-century analytic methods into settings where they are neither

necessary nor helpful. Technical definitions of ‘limits’ and ‘continuity’ are presented in order to

obscure the intuitively clear notion of smooth change. As the name suggests, this course

prepares the student for Calculus, where the final phase in the systematic obfuscation of any

natural ideas related to shape and motion will be completed.

CALCULUS. This course will explore the mathematics of motion, and the best ways to bury it

under a mountain of unnecessary formalism. Despite being an introduction to both the

differential and integral calculus, the simple and profound ideas of Newton and Leibniz will be

discarded in favor of the more sophisticated function-based approach developed as a response to

various analytic crises which do not really apply in this setting, and which will of course not be

mentioned. To be taken again in college, verbatim.</p>

<p>Do you agree that math is the most poorly taught subject in school. Do you agree that math education in school sucks the life out of REAL MATHEMATICS. If so please reply below</p>