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In the United States, secondary educatioin students generally progress through pre-algebra courses, then algebra, Euclidean geometry, more algebra/trigonometry, then calculus or statistics.

I am particularly interested in the place that geometry holds in this sequence. When did this become the standard way to teach in the United States?

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  • $\begingroup$ Not sure, but I've been meaning to check out this book for a while: amazon.com/Geometry-Curriculum-Research-Mathematics-Education/… $\endgroup$ – Michael Pershan Mar 16 '14 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ I just posted a related question at matheducators.stackexchange.com/questions/369/…. $\endgroup$ – mweiss Mar 17 '14 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Possibly of interest: (1) See the excerpts from Amy Olive Chateauneuf's book/dissertation in the .pdf file I posted here as well as my comments here. (2) See Robert W. Hayden's 1981 Ph.D. Dissertation at Iowa State University A History of the "New Math" Movement in the United States. (I think I looked at this in 1999 or 2000 at ISU's library, but I don't remember much about it.) $\endgroup$ – Dave L Renfro Jan 15 '15 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ I just discovered (by accident -- I wasn't looking for it) that Robert W. Hayden's 1981 Ph.D. Dissertation is now freely available here. $\endgroup$ – Dave L Renfro Feb 1 '17 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ From 1964 to 1968, I took alg 1, geom, alg 2, and "Advanced Math" which included trigonometry and calculus. I've noticed that, recently, rigid motion transformations have been getting more exposure in geometry classes. $\endgroup$ – Steven Gregory Feb 8 '17 at 21:24
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I've read a few interesting articles over the past few months in the Notices of the AMS that offer a brief discussion of this. The most notable is a critique and comparison of American and Chinese mathematics curriculum including the beginnings and development of each. It's titled "A Critique of the Structure of U.S. Elementary School Mathematics" by Liping Ma. www.ams.org/notices/201310/

The jist I believe is that back in the 60's America (led by the NSF) wanted to revitalize it's mathematics curriculum to compete with the Soviet style. California specifically followed suit and developed the basis of the curriculum we see today with the strands structure.

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  • $\begingroup$ That article has a lot of info, thanks for the link! $\endgroup$ – j0equ1nn Dec 5 '17 at 16:11
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At least around here in Chile, school curricula are defined by law/decree of the Ministry for Education. So to answer the question would mean digging through the official documents. To find out why it came to be that way gets lost in some murkiness of (much off-the-record) discussions among "interested players" (who might, mostly not, have a clue). All seasoned with a healthy dose of whatever the current popular "feeling" is.

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    $\begingroup$ standard curricula are only as good as their standards. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Mar 16 '14 at 20:56

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