# Mathematics Is A Story With Great Characters and Mystery — So Why Aren’t We Teaching It That Way?

I restarted watch LOST with my teenage kids last week — watching one episode every day. They are already hooked. They are already hooked even though there are far, far more questions than answers. They are hooked even though they don’t have a clue what’s going on — and are willing to demonstrate patience for things to be resolved.

That’s how mathematics should be taught.

Should be.

As I continue my gleeful exodus out of mathematics education — which has turned into a world of celebrity fascination and cult-like obsession with all things whiteboard — it’s not challenging to answer the question of this blog.

Mathematics education is about conformity, compliance, conservatism, consumerism, corporations, and crappy fuckin’ mathematics. None of these are new. They are all historical. In fact, a book calling for the violent destruction/upheaval was written in 2016.

If you’re not criticizing mathematics education, you’re simply profiting from it — or desire to. It’s a full on grift, Ponzi scheme. Building Thinking Classrooms has not only drained finite resources of schools/districts, it’s lowered the bar on discussions around actual mathematics — where everything is called a “task”.

Shall we look up the definition of that word?

The reduction of mathematics to morsel-size pieces of cracker-tasting-blandness is a high crime that nobody seems interested in investigating.

The combination of the goal of every math educator wanting to be some kind of expert/solution-provider and the shading of mathematics into hellish obscurity will be its tombstone.

Once upon a time — at least in the beginning of my teaching career over 20 years ago — mathematics did look/feel like this:

In fact, I tried to resurrect it yesterday in a FB Live Stream.

What was the focus of my 75 minute stream? The mathematics.

Not me.

The star was mathematics. The problem in today’s mathematics education is that the star is the edu-celebrity. Mathematics is simply a platform to elevate.

Check social media. What’s being promoted? It’s not actual mathematics. The only mathematics being shown is mathematics that has possibility of generating the emotions below.

Mathematics education sees those reactions/emotions as negative responses — to be overcome.

Uh, fuck no. These are the human and historical pillars of feeling alive with mathematics. It’s a beautiful mystery of patterns and cryptic language(algebra).

Mathematics education is like on spoiler-alert tilt — here’s the answer to everything all the time. Here’s the algorithm. Here’s the quick solution. Time to wrap it up, class is almost over. And you are still wondering by Wilkes wanted to torch the mathematics classroom?

The edu-celebrity folks, administrators, and ignorant legacy media have a stranglehold on the narrative of mathematics education. All the debates about HOW to teach mathematics are tantamount to debating as to what songs the Titanic band orchestra needs to play.

Nobody seems concerned that the ship is sinking — that no discussion on mathematical content that is gripping in the eyes of students is occurring.

Rome is on fire. Buckets of water not needed. Fiddles are sold out.

I am going back to watching LOST. You can have your “Friends”