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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The National Science Foundation and a Comparative Study of Precollege Mathematics and Science Education Reform in the United States, 1950-2000

  • Author(s): Redman, Emily Timmons Hamilton
  • Advisor(s): Carson, Cathryn
  • et al.

The history of math education reform is fragmented and must be placed in conversation with the history of science education reform, as both are better understood when considered in parallel rather than historically conflated. The early coherency of the math education community permitted it to capitalize on post-Sputnik funds--mainly supplied by the National Science Foundation (NSF)--in a wholly different manner than that in science education. Over time, the NSF's role in education was curtailed by changing federal administrations, competing agency, rising internationalism, and unsettled questions of democracy. By directly comparing the histories of math and science education reform I question the general narrative of educational reform in modern American history and replace it with a more focused examination of their individual rhetorical strategies, thus providing a more suitable historical context for ongoing discussions of reform efforts.

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