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The next section provides a brief overview of some of the important historical trends and policies leading up to the events of the 1980s and 90s.Historical Outline: 1920 to 1980 It would be a mistake to think of the major conflicts in education as disagreements over the most effective ways to teach.
This point of view toward education comported well with the pedagogical methods endorsed by progressive education.However, because of the hierarchical nature of mathematics and its heavy dependence at any level on prerequisites, high school and even college mathematics courses have at times been strongly affected by progressivist ideas, especially at the end of the 20th century.The political struggles and policy changes in mathematics education in the 1980s, and especially the 1990s are the major topics of this chapter.The American education establishment has consistently advocated a progressivist education agenda for the bulk of the 20th century, and the mainstream views of the education community have enjoyed a commanding influence on public schools.In no other country are the professional students of education so influential.The influence on high school math teachers, while still powerful, has been less direct because of the subject matter specialization of the high school curriculum.
The content demands of mathematics itself have limited the direct influence of some pedagogical fashions on high school math teachers.
There is nothing new about disagreements over the best ways to educate the nation's school children.
The periodic waves of education reform from the nation's colleges of education are more similar than they are different.
However, the events of the final two decades of the 20th century are more easily understood in an historical context.
Throughout the 20th century the "professional students of education" have militated for child centered discovery learning, and against systematic practice and teacher directed instruction.
Kilpatrick are virtually synonymous." Kilpatrick majored in mathematics at Mercer College in Macon, Georgia.