I'm interested in playing a role in determining mathematics curriculum and goals for K-12 students. I'm currently a college student. How do I even begin down this path? Math? Political Science? Education?

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    $\begingroup$ Standard for which country? Or, if the U.S., which state? $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2018 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ First you should get many years experience teaching K-12 math. In the past, standards promulgated by others (such as politicians, or university math professors) have sometimes been impractical. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2018 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ (U.S. based comment) This is an extremely hard, possible unanswerable question. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2018 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ In the US, there are three career tracks you can have. Track 1: become an expert in math and math education, propose reasonable standards, and have them ignored by politicians. Track 2: become a politician at the higher levels of political power, make up totally unrealistic standards, impose them on educators by fiat, watch them fail. Track 3: become a politician at the lower levels of political power, note that you are about to get in trouble because students are failing the standards, water down the standards until a state of political equilibrium is reached. $\endgroup$
    – user507
    Jan 1, 2018 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ @BenCrowell Isn't it a bit early in the new year to systematically squash the hopes and ambitions of our youth? Ninjawartotles: Keep up the good fight. I would say that Ben's Track 1 is the noblest path, but that change is possible. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2018 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


As somebody who has been involved in state and national standards work, I think there are a few ways in. Most important, become a mathematics teacher and gain some experience in your public schools. From here, you will have opportunities to engage in larger conversations around district and state policies and figure out who's who in that world.

Seek out opportunities to be around the people in your district who are a part of these conversations, gain experience, and eventually there will be district level positions or state positions around curriculum and instruction.

Along the way, you should complete higher degrees, specifically studying mathematics education.

There is no quick road, fortunately, and you should expect years of classroom teaching before considering a seat at the table. This is only fair.


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