Mathematics education is the practice of trying to make mathematics more appealing for those that have trouble with mathematics. And the reason people have trouble with math could be because they had a bad experience, or because it’s presented poorly, or because they just don’t have much innate ability.

I fully support making mathematics education excellent in the sense that it is presented well and by people who know what they are talking about. But what I don’t support is the industry of trying to make everyone learn mathematics by pushing it in endless ways in colourful books that present math as an endless series of the most fun puzzle games.

And why is this? Well, the reason is the motivation for doing so. The motivation for vigorously pushing mathematics education comes from the fact that the world is becoming more mathematical with programming and computer science being the pillar of economic growth. And the result is that, educators are pushing math exactly because math is becoming more required to be a useful and expendable drone to furthering global capitalism.

And it works. Math education that packages math up in a cute little package might get people to get through an extra year or two of math. But it’s disingenuous, because at the other side of that equation is likely to be a job that makes money but is mostly miserable because the person will end up as some cog in a machine. They won’t be there because math is fun and they enjoy it, but because knowing its fundamentals is useful to further an unsustainable society.

Here’s what I think should happen: math should be presented well, and by people who are passionate about it. And of course, some flexibility should exist for different learning styles and different backgrounds. But beyond that, if a child doesn’t like math, don’t force them to do it. Let them take art or machine shop or biology or something else instead. And speaking of art or machine shop, why aren’t there programs to get kids to like machine shop? That’s because it’s math that’s required by global capitalism.

Personally, I love math so much that I got a PhD in it. I have a ton of innate ability and throughout school, I found math mostly effortless. And I’ve met many other students who also loved math. And these people should take math because math is a beautiful art form that, if studied enough, gives a person a new philosophical and interesting view about life.

But for students that hate it? Yes, be gentle on them and go at their pace. But the current math education is not about that. Current math education goes much further and present math through a propaganda-like scheme that tries to brainwash kids into thinking “math is fun”. Yes, it’s fun to people who enjoy it, but fundamentally, not everyone can enjoy it.

I’m sick of people trying to push math so hard. I love classical music, but I wouldn’t try and get everyone to listen to it, and neither should we try so hard with math just because it supports unsustainable economic growth!

I think the world would be a much better place if we would just stop with all this mathematical education claptrap. Teach the basics yeah, and teach them well, but beyond that, let’s stop trying to make everyone into a programmer or mathematician or technical person. A person can be a perfectly good human being without knowing math. Just let people be who they are.