The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is committed to the principle that groups underrepresented in mathematics-based fields of study-African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islanders, females, children in poor communities, children with disabilities, Asian Americans, among others-should be full participants in all aspects of mathematics education. All students should study a comprehensive mathematics curriculum, at all grade levels, with high-quality instruction and coordinated assessment. Teachers, administrators, and counselors at all educational levels should expect that students from all segments of the population can be successful in mathematics.
Historically, students in these groups have neither taken advanced mathematics courses nor entered mathematics related vocations and careers in proportion to their representation in the population. Paths to continuing education and employment opportunities are often hindered by powerful social and institutional influences that discourage these students from studying mathematics. In our challenging and complex society, it is paramount that all students be considered valuable resources and be afforded the opportunity and support needed to reach their full potential. A larger, more diverse pool of students with strong mathematical foundations will enhance the presence of underrepresented groups in a variety of careers, including mathematics teaching.
(February 1998; reformatted December 2002)
NCTM position statements define a particular problem, issue, or need and describe its relevance to mathematics education. Each statement defines the Council's position or answers a question central to the issue. The NCTM Board of Directors approves position statements.