I learnt today of the passing of Vladimir Arnold on June 3, 2010. Here is the obituary from New York Times. He was also a commentator on mathematics education. A quote on French teaching of mathematics reads:
To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!
Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
The full article can be found here.