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'There's always another agenda': marshalling resources for mathematics reform

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Contemporary reforms in the US urge deep changes in mathematics teaching and learning and yet classroom practice continues, in many places, to be as conventional as ever. This paper examines how one mid-sized urban district marshalled resources for instruction in mathematics. We appraise the resources afforded by the district to mathematics and offer an argument for why the resource patterns look as they do. In contrast with literacy where staff, experience, and concern were extensive, mathematics lacked parallel resources. We argue that this pattern of resource allocation significantly affected the possibilities for change in the district's elementary mathematics programme. The magnitude of the changes envisioned by the current mathematics reforms, set against an analysis of the key district players' ideas, understandings, and agendas, leads us to argue that there is a paradoxical inversion of resources needed to support the kinds of improvements promoted by the mathematics reforms.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/002202797183810

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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