Original on How to Fix Our Math Education article is found here.
Sol Garfunkel and David Mumford are right to observe that the everyday usefulness of our high school math curriculum leaves much to be desired. But since when did practicality become the only goal of our educational system?
Should English classes dispense with classic literature in favor of company annual reports? Should music and art be jettisoned to make way for classes in accounting and tax?
Examples of applied mathematics are critical, but to gear education toward any outcome is coercive and damaging. Instead, teachers should aim to give children all the tools they need to apply mathematics, and knowledge in general, in the way they choose.
Just as we teach students the beauty of poetry, we should teach students the beauty of mathematics — a beauty that does not depend on calculating a gear ratio or estimating a marginal profit.
ANDREW M. H. ALEXANDER
You do not study mathematics because it helps you build a bridge. You study mathematics because it is the poetry of the universe. Its beauty transcends mere things.
JONATHAN DAVID FARLEY
Some important thoughts to keep in mind for the upcoming school year.