I'm sure some of you have read this already, and I'd encourage those of you who haven't to take the time to read through it in its entirety.
Essentially it's a sendup of how math is taught in the US and some thoughts on ways that might improve the situation (which are impossible because of the bureaucratic BS educators have to deal with and unionized educators, but that's a different topic to deal with).
I'm posting this to see what my fellow Americans think about this, and because I'm curious if non-American educational systems suffer from similar issues.
Lockhart gets to teach an upscale private institution, selecting for kids who are neurologically similar to himself: most teachers don't have that luxury.
Actual educational policy is developed as a conversation between between government (which is interested in ed. as a economic development tool), post secondary institutions (who are interested in ranking their prospects, and easily court the support of parents), special interest groups (who see math education as a necessary precursor to a democratic population), teachers (who are by and large dedicated professionals who are totally within their rights to make reasonable requests not to be held to insane standards), and math professionals (who have great intentions but generally live in an ivory tower bubble). Each group has a different stake and each sees an aspect of the system the others can't. Privileging any one approach, assuming you know best after a 20 page paper, and asking why the others can't fall in line disrespects thousands of folks who over the past century who have made the improvement of the education system their life goal.
I love Lockhart's work before I started teaching. Now it annoys me.
>Privileging any one approach, assuming you know best after a 20 page paper, and asking why the others can't fall in line disrespects thousands of folks who over the past century who have made the improvement of the education system their life goal.
These are some pretty big assumptions to make friend.
Additionally, intentions don't matter, results do.
Which results? What is the "job" of education? Do I measure my success in reduced poverty in my district? The wealth of my top students? Victory in math competitions? A better global attitude towards math? The base happiness of my students?
Nice read and pretty funny too. I think Lockhart overestimates how creative/intellectually stimulating other subjects in school are though. Public education in the U.S. is extremely mind numbing all around. It's not just Maths that has been divorced of its underlying beauty, it's everything.