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Mathematics Specialists. As teachers learn new content, new methods of instruction, and new methods of assessment, they need resources and support. There is also immense pressure on elementary teachers, who have multiple subjects to teach. While math specialists are called for in several of the documents (
Table 7–5), the nature of such specialists and the recommendations vary. The Mathematics Education of Teachers and Every Child Mathematically Proficient call for math specialists to teach mathematics content by grade 5. Adding It Up recommends that mathematics specialists provide support for K–8 teachers, and Principles and Standards calls for teacher-leaders throughout the system.
Considering the overall mathematical landscape and potential directions necessary for improvement, the Mathematical Sciences Education Board recommends that educators use reports such as the ones described in this document to help them make informed decisions. The committee also recommends that the decision making process include participation and input from across the community, with diverse contributions from a wide spectrum of individuals—in much the same spirit as these documents were developed.
The committee recognizes that all the information necessary to make the many decisions facing educators is not available. The research-based findings and the recommendations in these documents, however, can be a rich resource for educators engaged in actions and initiatives intended to make real and positive change in the lives of students and teachers in mathematics classrooms across the nation. These documents can help educators as they struggle to make wise and defensible decisions and strive to meet the challenges of implementing truly excellent programs of mathematics instruction.