Reactions to the publication of the National Council of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards, in both 1989 and
2000, revealed the extent to which differing sets of values and beliefs had divided the mathematical community.
This paper rejoins the debate surrounding the Standards, exploring some of the opposing points of view while
offering some perspectives on the roots of the conflict, the current status of the debate, and some suggestions as
to what might be done to foster a shared vision for the future of mathematics education. The authors illustrate
how various beliefs about the key issues of today's mathematics education reform initiative might cloud the way
the Standards are interpreted and implemented and argue that ongoing debate over the Standards should be
considered a constructive means of exploring possible avenues for the reconciliation of conflicting ideas while
providing safeguards against both an erosion of the reform effort and desultory implementation of the
Last modified: 30 July 2012.
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