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Maths education and other nonsense

Though most of our time and effort is devoted to presenting beautiful and engaging mathematics, we have worked hard critiquing mathematics that is unbeautiful or unengaging, or plain dumb.

For a number of years we (and a very few others) have been strong and prominent critics of the endemic idiocy in Australian mathematics education. It is also clear that our numerous articles have had zero effect. Nothing has changed significantly for the better and there is no reason to be hopeful for the future. We have little doubt that our critique of the 2013 and 2014 Methods exams will apply, mutatis mutandis, in 2020, that our textbook reviews ..., and on and on.

Why is is this stupidity so stubborn? In a word, because it is institutionalised. Those in power are so immersed in the stupidity that they cannot sense it; they have no appreciation of the depths of their ignorance of mathematics and mathematical thought, and of plain common sense. These people are absolutely well-intentioned and they are arrogantly clueless.

Below are some of our critical columns, articles and reviews (including a couple unpublished critiques). They may have done nothing to improve mathematics education, however they have irritated many of the right people, which has given us no end of pleasure. We hope and trust that they will at least serve this purpose for many years to come.

Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott is a liar: It's a mathematical truth (Age op-ed, 29 February 2014)

The Australian curriculum
A zillion and one things to talk about (18 June 2012)
Irrational thoughts (1 May 2010)
The times tables they are a-changin' (22 March 2010)
New maths curriculum a feeble tool calculated to bore (Age op-ed, 4 March 2010)
Summing up a failure, (Age op-ed, 23 February 2009)

Naplan in Kafkaland (9 May 2014)
NAPLAN, numeracy and nonsense (13 May 2013)
The best laid NAPLAN (9 May 2011)

Maths education experts
The paradox of Australian mathematics education (23 June 2014)
Educational Barbs (16 September 2013)
Boaler? Boaler? (22 October 2012)
Divide and conquer (28 October 2013)
Numeracy, algebra and the cavern in between (3 September 2012)
Get real (8 August 2011)

VCE mathematics
Critique of the 2014 Methods Exam (unpublished)
Methods Acting (3 February 2014)
There's madness in the Methods (23 April 2012)
Apples and Oranges (12 September 2011)

General school mathematics
Proofs without words (18 August 2014)
Primary maths it's not child's play, yet it is (Education Review, 20 February 2014, with Joe Grotowski)
What are calculators good for, really? (19 April 2010)
The Death of Reason (Age op-ed, 14 May 2007)

Review of the textbook "Mathematical Methods 3 & 4" (Cambridge), Vinculum 2012 (together with Dave Treeby)
Review of Victorian Year 9 Mathematics Texts, Vinculum 2008 (together with Dave Treeby)

Uni maths
A Novel Approach to Limits (Rejected by the Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society)

The statistical problem of greedy pigs (4 August 2014)

A Penney for your thoughts (28 July 2014)
Sliding downward (25 July 2011)

Adventures in MathleticsLand (2 September 2013)

Science and maths journalism
Martin Gardner and Mr. Hyde (20 October 2014)
The media lottery (31 March 2014)
Lies, Damn Lies and YouTube (16 February 2014)
Shooting log(fish) in a barrel (2 December 2013)
Will maths kill the rhino? (2 May 2011)
Newly done? Bernoulli done! (11 June 2012)

Numerology (golden ratio, decimals, etc.)
Sigh! It's time for Pi (11 March 2013)
The golden ratio must die! (4 March 2013)
Another Century? Hmmph! (9 August 2010)
And the winner is... (15 February 2010)
Metric matters? (5 October 2009)
The Golden Ratio is somewhat tarnished (18 May 2009)

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