The Math Myth

And Other STEM Delusions

The “lively” (Kirkus Reviews), provocative, much-talked-about book that challenges the mandate for all students to master a full menu of mathematics, from the bestselling author

“In a friendly and accessible style, Hacker . . . systematically demolishes every argument used to support the advanced-math-for-all position. His book is now my go-to resource on this topic.” —Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth

When Andrew Hacker published an op-ed in the New York Times questioning the requirement of advanced mathematics in schools, it instantly became one of the paper’s most widely circulated articles. Why, he wondered, do we inflict algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and even calculus on all young Americans, regardless of their interests and aptitudes? In response to the controversy sparked by his ideas, Hacker fleshed out his arguments in The Math Myth, which Diane Ravitch has hailed as an “important book” that “demolishes some totally unrealistic policies that will prevent many students from ever receiving a high school diploma and leading useful lives.”

In a book Howard Gardner calls “important and timely—and a great read,” Hacker offers a bold examination of widely held assumptions about the Common Core curriculum, the frenzied emphasis on STEM, and the type of knowledge that is—and will be—needed for most jobs. A mathematics professor himself, Hacker, in this “direct and clear” (Kirkus Reviews) “worthwhile read” (National Book Review), honors mathematics as a calling and extols its glories and its goals—yet shows how mandating it for everyone not only prevents other talents from being developed, but acts as an irrational barrier to graduation and fulfilling careers.


“Not one to decelerate, at 86 [Hacker] is doing nothing less than taking on the mathosphere.”
The New York Times, Education Life
“Exposes [an] inconvenient truth . . . Hacker shows convincingly that our current math curriculum has become too much of a good thing—an artificial barrier to the deeper learning at the heart of true vocations.”
—Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
“Important and timely—and a great read.”
—Howard Gardner, author of The Unschooled Mind

News and Reviews

The New York Times

Read an op-ed from author Andrew Hacker in The New York Times


Dana Goldstein reviews The Math Myth for Slate

The New York Times Education Life

Read a Q&A with author Andrew Hacker

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly calls The Math Myth a "clarion call to students, parents, and educators who decry the one-size-fits-all approach to schooling" in their starred review


Goodreads Reviews