Voices of reform : an oral history of the impact of mathematics reform on Texas public schools : 1960 - 2010.
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Sizemore, Cheri Brown.
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Since the launch of the Soviet satellite, Sputnik, rocked America's confidence as a strong nation, mathematics education reforms have been the focus of much debate in public schools for more than fifty years. Math education received blame through the years for threats to national security, a struggling economy, and a slide in international assessment rankings. Although students are taking more high school math courses now and the number of students enrolling in colleges and universities continues to increase, American students, particularly Texas students for this study, have not shown significant improvement on the state assessments. In the midst of these concerns, "math wars" between the traditionalists and the reformists have been raging, fueled by political and societal struggles over what and how mathematics should be taught. As in all wars, there are casualties; in this case, our youth have suffered. The solution to the problem is finding the middle ground - the balance - between the two approaches to math education. Reform research was brought to life by interviews of many high profile educational leaders, politicians, and reformers who wrote, led, or participated in math reforms in K-12 education between 1960 and 2010. Through the process of oral history methodology, experiential recollections from this select group were archived in Baylor University's Institute for Oral History, and significant recommendations were offered to current and future educational leaders for the improvement of mathematics programs in schools and districts across the state. Recommendations include: (1) University level: to increase the number of mathematics education programs; to encourage partnerships between university and public schools; (2) Public schools: to hire teachers with degrees in mathematics education to reduce anxiety levels and to increase confidence in teachers and students, especially at the elementary level; to sustain training and support for teachers, especially for those who work with reform curriculum; (3) Curriculum developers: to balance the math curriculum with traditional and reform methods; (4) Legislators: to review the accountability system to discover better methods to measure student growth.