An endnote explains that middle school students must be well grounded in Number Sense, Properties and Operations; Measurement; Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability; Algebra and Functions; and Geometry and Spatial Sense, but the Alliance is focusing on Algebra and Geometry because they are powerful gatekeepers for access to post-secondary education studies and key jobs. The endnote also states that the use of the word “course” does not imply a preference for the existing course structure (p. 29).
The plan acknowledges that meeting this goal requires curricular changes, professional development, parental and public support, and research-based reforms. These lead to four objectives for schools, school districts, and states (p. 6):
“All our nation's students, regardless of where they live or their economic or racial and ethnic backgrounds, should have the opportunity to complete a challenging course of mathematics study that is consistent with specific benchmarks, including Algebra and Geometry by the end of the ninth grade.
Students must be taught by teachers who have a strong command of the subject and the best ways to teach it, which will require changes in preservice teacher education, increased entry requirements for the initial education of teachers, and continued professional development of teachers throughout the full range of their careers.
Parents and teachers must be brought into the process of change in school mathematics, including discussions of curricular goals, how teaching and assessments have changed in mathematics classrooms, and how they may help improve student achievement.
Finally, programs of research on curricular materials, student learning, and teaching of school mathematics should be expanded. More support should be given to the translation of findings from such research into the development of high quality materials and professional development opportunities for teachers.”
To those seeking to achieve the four objectives, Every Child Mathematically Proficient proposes a series of practical recommendations, including the following:
“At the state and school district level, specify clear benchmarks and provide a more focused and challenging study of mathematics for each grade or group of grades. Teacher preparation, textbooks and other curriculum materials, assessments, and mechanisms for holding schools accountable should be aligned with these benchmarks.” (p. 14)