The Need for Mathematics 

The Edwin O. Smith mathematics department supports the vision of the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics. We live in a time of extraordinary and accelerating change. New knowledge, tools, and ways of doing and communicating mathematics continue to emerge and evolve. Calculators, too expensive for common use just a dozen years ago, are now not only commonplace and inexpensive but are vastly more powerful. Quantitative information available to limited numbers of people a few years ago is now widely disseminated through popular media outlets.

The need to understand and be able to use mathematics in everyday life and in the workplace has never been greater and will continue to increase.

In this changing world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for shaping their futures. Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures. A lack of mathematical competence keeps those doors closed. Today, more than at any other time in history, everyone needs to understand mathematics. All students should have the opportunity and the support necessary to learn significant mathematics with depth and understanding. There is no conflict between equity and excellence.

Students exhibit different talents, abilities, achievements, needs, and interest in mathematics. Nevertheless, all students must have access to the highest-quality mathematics instructional programs. Students with a deep interest in pursuing mathematical and scientific careers must have their talents and interests engaged. Likewise, students with special educational needs must have the opportunities and support they require to attain a substantial understanding of important mathematics. A society in which only a few have the mathematical knowledge needed to fill crucial economic, political, and scientific roles is not consistent with the values of a just democratic system or its economic needs.

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