Quite frequently, people come to this board or others and argue on behalf of calculation tossups. One of the arguments that such people use is that "math is important" and thus should be asked, or that people who oppose calculation tossups are "anti-math" with respect to quizbowl or even pedagogy as a whole.

I submit that it is in fact the anti-calculation position which is pro-math, and the pro-calculation position which is anti-math. The reason is that

*calculation is not math*and precludes the inclusion of sufficient questions on math theory, which are in fact actual math. Allow me to expand on this point.

Math is, in fact, very important. It's important enough to be asked in the same way that everything else in quizbowl is asked; that is, fairly, with an eye towards rewarding intellectual curiosity and going beyond the classroom. In biology, in physics, in history, in literature, in art, we ask things that go above the typical high school education, because we're supposed to be rewarding outstanding students who are interested in doing more than the minimum. In math, we get claims that we need to ask questions about drawing marbles out of bags and multiplying numbers quickly because of some ridiculous appeal to what's "in the classroom." Let me tell anyone who is teaching the basics of multiplication to a high school class of any kind (let alone to high school quizbowl players) that you must teach at the worst high school in America. I learned how to do multiplication in third grade. The types of things that excellent high school math students do (trig analysis, calculus, and so on) don't get asked in quizbowl because they aren't reducible to problems that can be done in 10 seconds. As for including something behind the high school horizons in that format...don't even waste my time. A calculation tossup on topology or linear algebra? Good luck. Math calculation is the only category where it's viewed as acceptable to turn quizbowl into a remedial elementary-school exercise instead of a push to actually explore serious academic topics.

Outstanding math students should be encouraged to learn about fields at the collegiate level and above while still in high school, both in their classroom education and in quizbowl. That people who claim to "love math" would deny this opportunity to those students and instead force them to regress to the intellectual level of a horse by doing speed calculation is a complete travesty. Anyone who supports these calculation tossups over real math should be absolutely ashamed of himself for the damage he is doing to the potential mathematicians of the future--you are turning people who may be the next great scholar in a vibrant intellectual field into sideshow attractions, just so you can win bad quizbowl tournaments.

What goes on in mathematics at the university level is not based on being able to calculate quickly, or do arithmetic by hand at all. I'm not talking about the people doing research and publication or grad students here--I mean that when the average college student takes his undergraduate math requirement, he gets to use a calculator the entire time, because concepts and a way of looking at the world, rather than speed at arithmetic, are what is being taught. This is largely the case in high school as well.

I call for the immediate

*replacement of*calculation questions with math questions. Questions that reward, encourage, and communicate knowledge about important academic topics in the field of mathematics, not questions about working together to paint a room that are stolen from someone's 6th grade midterm, and not questions that reduce to who can subtract the fastest.

To support calculation tossups is to be anti-math. To oppose them is to be pro-math.