Where would be the best place to submit an article for publication arguing that the conventional mathematics curriculum including calculus and the courses leading up to it (i.e. most of secondary-school mathematics) is fraudulent?

Note inspired by comments posted below: My question was where to submit such a publication. My question was not whether the thesis of the publication is true. This is something I have been thinking about since 1978, and I have been teaching calculus and its prerequisite subjects since that time, and published on calculus teaching. Comments below suggesting I am rashly commenting on a subject I haven't thought about are mistaken.

Could those who have down-voted the question explain what their objections are? The comments make me suspect that some of them result from disagreement with the thesis of the proposed paper. But the question was only about the appropriate forum for publication and I made no attempt to support the thesis, since that would be off topic. Is this getting down-voted for off-topic reasons?

closed as off-topic by jakebeal, David Richerby, Alexandros, Stephan Kolassa, StrongBad May 10 '15 at 21:48

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  • 10
    I doubt you will get anywhere arguing "fraudulence." You could argue that it's not optimal (and I know people such as Benoît Mandelbrot who would agree with you), but to argue that the courses are fraudulent would be to say that they're teaching false or misleading information, which just isn't the case. – aeismail May 9 '15 at 20:53
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    @aeismail: they're teaching false or misleading information – It’s even worse; it would mean that they are intentionally doing this. If this actually were the case, it would be impossible to publish this article in any peer-reviewed journal, as the potential editors and reviewers are involved in the fraud. – Wrzlprmft May 9 '15 at 21:06
  • 11
    Reminder: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. – keshlam May 9 '15 at 21:14
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    Still, what you are referring to is not fraud; it’s at worst bad didactics. (Besides, what you describe is not globally applicable. I was not taught mathematics like this.) – Wrzlprmft May 9 '15 at 21:45
  • 4
    A couple of decades ago you could have circulated it as a pre-print among the academe and eventually expanded it into a book. Now you'll just be seen as (a) riding on Lockhart's coat tails and (b) hyperbolic. – dmckee May 9 '15 at 22:02

The appropriate places to put an angry contrarian rant where you assert that a large percentage of scientists are doing it wrong are (in order of preference):

  1. arXiv.org, which will take pre-print papers from pretty much anybody with a well-established affiliation within their scope.
  2. viXra.org, which will take independent paper from pretty much anybody.
  3. A personal website extolling your particular theory at length (e.g., Gene Ray's famous site)

These are all good places to submit an article such as you describe.

Publishing such an article, however, may not cause much of the mathematical community to listen to you. For that, you will have to dig deeper and try to understand how to speak the language of the people that you want to listen to you, such that you can establish credibility with them. A good starting point might be to take one particular significant point, rather than the whole broad spectrum, and construct a study that produces quantifiable evidence for your position. That then, written up in a manner that conforms to the standards of the community and will not score highly on the crackpot index.

Please understand that I am being serious in my response to you: it is possible that you have identified something significant (I have no idea, not being familiar with your assertions). If so, however, you will need to be very strategic in your approach to presenting it effectively.

  • 12
    @MichaelHardy, the word "fraud" has not only very negative connotations, it has negative denotations as well! It is used by the legal system as a term for a felony. If you don't want to seem contrarian, step one would be to avoid that word entirely. A great step two would be to write something that does very little in the way of criticizing what currently exists and instead is largely about how things could be made better. "I've got an idea that I think will help" is so much more positive than "what you're doing is criminal". – Todd Wilcox May 10 '15 at 6:22
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    @MichaelHardy You keep using words like "obvious," but the matter is apparently not so clear to your listeners. If you want to have an impact on the mathematics community, you need to think about how to present your case so that it is clear to those listeners. A good start would be to post a draft paper on arXiv and ask mathematicians you know to critique it. – jakebeal May 10 '15 at 16:44
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    @MichaelHardy Regardless of whether you expect anyone do disagree with you, clearly many do, including me. I tutor mathematics from third grade through undergraduate courses and I really have no idea what you're talking about. The public and private schools and universities in my area don't seem to follow this fraudulent curriculum you are concerned about at all, and neither do any of the home school materials I've seen (and I've seen many). This is the first I'm hearing about teaching that "math is only about algorithms". I worked with a ninth grader on a proof yesterday. – Todd Wilcox May 10 '15 at 16:59
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    Remember, students who come here to ask us to do their homework are by definition atypical, inferior students. Of course that subset just wants an answer. Null datum. – keshlam May 10 '15 at 17:33
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    Uhm... I think you've just agreed with me that the subset you are complaining about are atypical. – keshlam May 10 '15 at 18:14

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