standards, but also standards for teaching, assessment, and professional development as well as other standards to support their enactment.
For mathematics and science education, several reform periods occurred during the first half of the twentieth century, as educators attempted to improve education for an ever-widening school audience (Hurd, 1960; NCTM, 1970). Then, in 1957, the Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik captured national attention and stimulated public pressure to upgrade U.S. science and mathematics education, with particular emphasis on increasing the pool of U.S. scientists and engineers capable of surpassing the Soviet achievement (Hurd and Gallagher, 1968; Raizen, 1991). While those efforts were at least partially successful, teacher, parent, and public discomfort with some of the emerging curricula contributed to counter-reforms that followed two quite different pathways. One led “back to basics,” while the other sought more socially relevant instructional approaches (Raizen, 1991; DeBoer, 1991).
In 1983, A Nation at Risk declared that “…the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people” (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983, p. 5). The document called for higher student expectations and equitable treatment of all learners, improvement in teacher preparation and the teaching profession, leadership by educators and elected officials, and increased fiscal support from citizens. It stimulated new thinking within the U.S. mathematics and science communities about how to address changing societal needs and, consequently, about the need to prepare a mathematically and scientifically literate population for the future. Later publications— such as A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century (Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986)—reemphasized that