Thank you for all your great responses — even those that passionately disagree with my position! It are these kinds of discussions that continue to push the discussion with honesty and constructive accountability.
I was a math and physics teacher for almost 20 years. I quit in 2013. For me, education had completely eviscerated the meaning of teaching mathematics. The kind of uses and applications most kids are exposed to are quite benign.
If we were being totally honest, high school math would be filled with game theory, mathematical expectation, utility, chess, GO, yahtzee and poker. So, if you are going to play the “useful” card, be prepared to take mathematics deeply into hacking into the problem with voting and the hidden negative expectation of government lotteries.
The fact that 30 percent of the US population would rather clean toilets than do a math problem says that we have a problem showcasing mathematics in its most brilliant and captivating light.
Paul Lockhart said everything I said in this story over a decade ago. He also said it much better than I ever could. All I am doing is making sure his message continues to breathe…:)