Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Educational Foundations

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Mark Weinstein

Committee Member

Rebecca Goldstein

Committee Member

Tyson Lewis

Subject(s)

Mathematics--Study and teaching--United States--Evaluation, Educational planning--United States--Evaluation

Abstract

Much attention has been placed on mathematics education in U.S. education policy reform discourses. Most recently, the emphasis has been on connecting mathematics with science, technology, and engineering, termed The STEM Initiative. Although a great deal of research has been conducted to understand how to meet the objectives of STEM, studies are limited in their focus and rarely question the philosophical assumptions inherent in policies. This is a mistake since mathematics is a field of knowledge deeply entrenched in historical, cultural, and philosophical perspectives.

A content analysis study of mathematics education policy, this dissertation employs a philosophical perspective, influenced by the contemporary philosopher Alain Badiou, in order to explore the philosophical categories found in publically disseminated national policy documents about mathematics education in the U.S. In this dissertation study I examined the ontological assumptions, epistemological claims, and axiological objectives that can be found in current U.S. mathematics education policies. I asked what societal and political consequences can ensue from the way in which mathematics is conceptualized in educational policy discourse and what implications this discourse has on public school professionals teaching mathematics today.

The findings of this dissertation study move the diverse debates in mathematics education by offering a more complex picture of the structure by which our society values mathematics and prescribes how it should be learned. Ultimately, it is the hope of the researcher that this work helps provide agency to educators working in the field, so that they may have the necessary knowledge about the intricacies of the policies that they themselves are responsible to implement, as well as the added philosophical knowledge to invigorate the mathematics classroom with the potentiality for radical changes in the way students come to understand and later use mathematics in their lives.

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