This month’s column is devoted to an article called A Mathematician’s Lament, written by Paul Lockhart in 2002. Paul is a mathematics teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York. His article has been circulating through parts of the mathematics and math ed communities ever since, but he never published it. I came across it by accident a few months ago, and decided at once I wanted to give it wider exposure. I contacted Paul, and he agreed to have me publish his “lament” on MAA Online. It is, quite frankly, one of the best critiques of current K-12 mathematics education I have ever seen. Written by a first-class research mathematician who elected to devote his teaching career to K-!2 education.
This article was written by Paul Lockhart and published by MAA. I quote part of their introduction to the article: