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Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics (1991)

Chapter: MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS

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Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
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MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS

Undergraduate mathematics is the linchpin of mathematics education. . . . No reform of mathematics education is possible unless it begins with revitalization of undergraduate mathematics in both curriculum and teaching style.

—Everybody Counts, 1989

The United States stands at the threshold of a century that will test the national genius for scientific innovation and social adaptation. Our nation faces many urgent tasks, not least among them to revitalize undergraduate mathematics. Although the educational process is long and the pace of educational change slow, the time is ripe for reform of undergraduate mathematics. There is substantial consensus in the mathematics community on broad goals for mathematics education and on salient methods of achieving them. Professional organizations and federal agencies are supporting a variety of projects that stimulate effective change. On campuses across the nation, exemplary programs are taking root and changing the landscape of undergraduate mathematics.

Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
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The evidence from exemplary programs is clear: In mathematics, the American dream of equal educational opportunity for all need not be a myth. The dream can be achieved. We know how to do it. We know where it is being done. And we know why it must be done. The nation cannot afford to ignore this opportunity. The resources needed are not negligible, but the cost of ignoring the opportunity is incalculable. The national revitalization of mathematics is within our reach, if only we are prepared to make a serious intellectual and financial commitment to our children's and our nation's future.

Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
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SUMMARY

  • Elevate the importance of undergraduate teaching.

  • Engage mathematics faculty in issues of teaching and learning.

  • Teach in a way that engages students.

  • Achieve parity for women and minorities and the disabled.

  • Establish effective career paths for college teaching.

  • Broaden attitudes and value systems of the mathematics profession.

  • Increase the number of students who succeed in college mathematics.

  • Ensure sufficient numbers of school and college teachers.

  • Elevate mathematics education to the same level as mathematical research.

  • Link colleges and universities to school mathematics.

  • Provide adequate resources for undergraduate mathematics.

Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
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Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
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Page 43
Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
×
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"MATHEMATICS BEYOND MYTHS." National Research Council. 1991. Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1782.
×
Page 46
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Over the next decade, the mathematical community and the nation's colleges and unversities must restructure fundamentally the culture, content, and context of undergraduate mathematics. Acknowledging the weaknesses in the present college mathematics curriculum and the ways in which it is taught, this book cites exemplary programs that point the way toward achieving the same world-wide preeminence for mathematics education that the United States enjoys in mathematical research.

Moving Beyond Myths sets forth ambitious goals for collegiate mathematics by the year 2000 and provides a sweeping plan of action to accomplish them. It calls on mathematics faculty, their departments, their professional societies, colleges and universities, and government agencies to do their parts to implement the plan, help the public move beyond commonly held myths about mathematics, and bring about a revitalization of undergraduate mathematics.

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