St. Olaf College Mathematics Education
Lynn Arthur Steen
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Dept. of Mathematics
Statistics, & Comp.Sci

St. Olaf College
1520 St. Olaf Ave.
Northfield, MN 55057

Copyright © 2010.

Everybody Counts

In 1985, two years after publication of A Nation at Risk, I was asked by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to join a new Commission to oversee development of "standards" for school mathematics--a task never before attempted in the United States where schooling has by tradition been the responsibility of local communities. At the same time I joined the Executive Committee of a new Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) at the National Academy of Sciences. This led, four years later, to my writing MSEB's "Report to the Nation on Mathematics Education" entitled Everybody Counts. This widely distributed report provided rationale and impetus to the emerging standards movement in mathematics education.

MMM logo Also in 1985 the National Science Foundation and the Exxon Education Foundation awarded St. Olaf a grant to work with the University of Minnesota to establish the Minnesota Mathematics Mobilization, a partnership of business, industry, school, postsecondary, and government working in support of standards-based reform of mathematics education in Minnesota. Assisting me as co-directors were Harvey Keynes of the University of Minnesota and Martha Wallace at St. Olaf. The Mobilization served as the model for a national program of state coalitions for mathematics and science education and evolved, in Minnesota, into SciMathMN, a statewide partnership working to increase the science and mathematics accomplishments of all students.

On the Shoulder of Giants

Following publication of Everybody Counts, I edited a second volume for MSEB entitled On the Shoulders of Giants: New Approaches to Numeracy. This volume explored five deep strands of mathematical thinking--chance, change, dimension, quantity, and shape--that provide a foundation for mathematics education from childhood to adulthood. Subsequently, from 1992 to 1995, I served as Executive Director of MSEB at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington. My ten-year association with MSEB (1985-1995) redirected much of my professional energy to issues of school mathematics.

Beyond Eighth Grade

One strand of MSEB's work focused on the changing and rapidly expanding quantitative needs of the technical work force. Begun during the three years I worked at MSEB in Washington and undertaken jointly with Susan Forman of Bronx Community College, this exploration led first to the MSEB publication High School Mathematics at Work; then to the project Beyond Eighth Grade of the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE); and finally to Mathematics in ATE Programs, an analysis of the quantitative practices underlying the rapidly growing Advanced Technological Education (ATE) programs supported by the National Science Foundation.

Related Professional Service

2000-07   Mathematics consultant and editor, American Diploma Project (ADP), Achieve, Inc.
2001-04   Vice-chairman, SciMath-MN.
2000-01   Chair, Subcommittee on Best Practices, Commission on Mathematics Education, New York City Board of Education.
1998-01   Board of Directors, SciMath-MN.
1993-99   Mathematics Advisory Committee, The College Board.
1992-96   Advisory Committee, Eisenhower National Clearinghouse.
1992-95   Executive Director, Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB).
1990-90   Delegate, US-USSR Academy of Sciences planning committee in mathematics education, Moscow, May 1990.
1985-92   Co-Director, Minnesota Mathematics Mobilization.
1985-91   Mathematical Sciences Education Board, National Research Council.
1986-89   Commission on Standards, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
1985-86   Planning Committee for U.S.-Mexico cross-cultural study of the impact of technology on school mathematics, Centro de Investigacion en Matematicas, Guanajuato, Mexico.
1979-81   U.S. Commission on the XXIII International Mathematical Olympiad.