Why the Math Curriculum Makes No Sense

Math with Bad Drawings

What would you do, if you were designing high school math from scratch?

Well… probably not what we do now.

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What in Noether’s name is going on here?

Why do we teach so many obscure technicalities, and so few practical facts?

Who the heck designed this monstrosity?

Nobody Designed Mathematics Education

I’ve come to believe that even this simple question—“who designed this?”—rests on a flawed assumption. The broad thing we call “the math curriculum” isn’t really “designed.” Rather, like all educational institutions and systems, it is shaped by a hailstorm of competing forces:

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Over time, each of these parties tugs and prods at the curriculum, reshaping it to suit their needs. No single author writes the curriculum. Nor, even, do multiple authors reach a clear and coherent compromise. Instead, the curriculum is perpetually being nudged and tweaked, eroded and built up, by various actors who share no unified vision.

Math…

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