For the past year, an essay has been passed around via e-mail and web blogs. Known as A Mathematician's Lament, the essay was actually written by Paul Lockhart in 2002. It has never been published.
Paul teaches mathematics for all grade levels (K-12) at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, New York. He first became interested in mathematics at age 14 by reading books outside of class. After one semester of college, Paul dropped out to focus on mathematics, especially analytic number theory. He supported himself by being a contract computer programmer and a quasi-elementary teacher.
Somehow Paul made contact with Ernst Strauss, a UCLA mathematician, and they co-authored several mathematical papers together...which led to his entering the UCLA Graduate School. In 1990, he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia, then became a MSRI fellow and an assistant professor at Brown University. But, Paul tired of teaching college students and wanted to "get back to teaching children." This decision led to his current position at Saint Ann's School, where he has "happily been subversively teaching mathematics (the real thing) since 2000."
As a teacher, Paul is especially interested in revealing a mathematician's point of view to students. His claim: "I want them to understand that there is a playground in their minds and that that is where mathematics happens."
Please read Paul's reflective essay A Mathematician's Lament. Though quite long (25 pages), it provides a fantastic perspective of mathematics education...it is current, it pulls no punches, it is thought-provoking, and it should be the focus of extended discussions amongst colleagues and all stakeholders concerned about the condition of mathematics education.