On October 4, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union, the world entered the Space Age and the United States became quite concerned that the Soviet Union had a head start in the space race. A year later, realizing that the support of gifted and talented mathematics and science students was critical to national security, the United States federal government passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), providing aid to education in the United States at all levels, primarily to stimulate the advancement of education in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages. Also, during this time, “new math” was introduced with an emphasis on more abstract concepts and unifying ideas. One of the most unique of the projects developed during that time, the Comprehensive School Mathematics Program (CSMP) from McREL, Midcontinent Research for Education and Learning, continues to be available online at http://ceure.buffalostate.edu/~csmp/. Although never fully implemented as intended, some of the “new math” projects along with the NDEA contributed to the dominance of the United States in science and technology in the latter part of the twentieth century as they inspired thousands of students to enjoy mathematical investigations and to pursue degrees in mathematics, science and technology.
Jensen Sheffield, Linda
"Mathematically Promising Students from the Space Age to the Information Age,"
The Mathematics Enthusiast: Vol. 3
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme/vol3/iss1/7