for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Pete Wright - Vol. 32 Num. 2 (2012)
 The Math Wars: tensions in the development of school mathematics curricula


The Math Wars have been raging since the 1990's in the United States, where the world of mathematics education has become polarised into two camps: the reformers and the traditionalists. In this article I explore the background to the Math Wars, with specific reference to conflicting ideologies of mathematics education. I draw parallels with similar, albeit less public, tensions and power struggles amongst policy makers and practitioners in England. I conclude by highlighting the danger of allowing increasing levels of politicisation of the education agenda to subsume the need for reform of the curriculum highlighted by the mathematics education community.