A New York Times–bestselling author looks at mathematics education in America—when it’s worthwhile, and when it’s not.
Why do we inflict a full menu of mathematics—algebra, geometry, trigonometry, even calculus—on all young Americans, regardless of their interests or aptitudes? While Andrew Hacker has been a professor of mathematics himself, and extols the glories of the subject, he also questions some widely held assumptions in this thought-provoking and practical-minded book.
Does advanced math really broaden our minds? Is mastery of azimuths and asymptotes needed for success in most jobs? Should the entire Common Core syllabus be required of every student? Hacker worries that our nation’s current frenzied emphasis on STEM is diverting attention from other pursuits and even subverting the spirit of the country. Here, he shows how mandating math for everyone prevents other talents from being developed and acts as an irrational barrier to graduation and careers. He proposes alternatives, including teaching facility with figures, quantitative reasoning, and understanding statistics.
Expanding upon the author’s viral New York Times op-ed, The Math Myth is sure to spark a heated and needed national conversation—not just about mathematics but about the kind of people and society we want to be.
“Hacker’s accessible arguments offer plenty to think about and should serve as a clarion call to students, parents, and educators who decry the one-size-fits-all approach to schooling.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review