. "Current Context for Mathematics and Science Education." Improving Student Learning in Mathematics and Science: The Role of National Standards in State Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.
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Improving Student Learning in Mathematics and Science: The Role of National Standards in State Policy
skills. The debate might also be viewed as an effort to promote a more balanced perspective about what is important in mathematics teaching and learning. Various organizations have been established, such as Mathematically Correct, that are calling for alternative goals in mathematics education to those promoted in the NCTM Standards documents. Research mathematicians have been commenting extensively on their views about K-12 mathematics education (Andrews, 1997; Bass, 1997). The NCTM Standards revision process, through its Association Review Groups, provides an organized means of gathering various points of view, which will be considered in the revision process. The differences in views and values that are emerging in these mathematics debates are likely to remain visible at the state and local levels in the processes of reconsidering mathematics and science education reform.
In a general way, events that are calling attention to mathematics and science achievement have special promise for directing renewed attention to mathematics and science standards, in particular the relationships between national and state standards. The March 1996 Education Summit of the nation's governors and business leaders focused attention on the topic of state standards. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has conducted a review of state standards describing characteristics of state standards and frameworks (CCSSO, 1997a). On July 1, 1997, the National Education Goals Panel's ACHIEVE panel began its work on assessing the quality of voluntarily submitted state-level standards. Specific activities in mathematics and science education, both ongoing and new, also contribute to this moment of opportunity. The National Science Foundation's systemic initiative efforts at the state, city, and regional level-as well as similar efforts supported by states and local communities-are infusing resources into the system and involving large numbers of mathematics and science teachers, together with the business community and the public, in focused work on high standards for the learning and teaching of all students (Zucker, 1997).
The stage is set for continued work on standards-based education throughout the country. Significant portions of the mathematics and science education communities have focused their energies on standards; national and international studies of student learning point to progress, but identify areas that require substantial improvement as well; and national, state, and local resources are being directed on reform of all components of the system. The National Education Goals Panel has provided the NRC and NCTM with a rare opportunity: to pause and reflect on the past, and suggest specific ways to move forward the states' agendas of high standards for all students. Although both the NRC and NCTM can provide support for these agendas, the steps necessary to ensure widespread implementation of standards-based education must now be taken by state governments. The recommendations in the following section are intended to suggest productive directions for states.