The general theme of change in philosophy over time is due to traditional customs and beliefs failing to regulate society. This theme drove both John Dewey's Progressive Movement and the creation of the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (1989) by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The remarkable similarity in thought between Dewey's writings and the Standards is the basis for this paper. The point of view is from the Standards looking back to find Dewey's similar ideas. Although Dewey's views of mathematics per se are not extensively explicated, his overarching views on learning content resonate strongly with those of the NCTM document. There is common focus on the individual, learning as doing, developing power of each student, the use of worthwhile tasks, views on curriculum, and the need for more experienced teachers and peers to stretch and pull the student into arenas of exploration.

If John Dewey were alive today, what would he have to say about the standards movement? There are a number of types of standards under consideration, with a variety of characteristics. In particular, what would he think of the NCTM C&E Standards? What is the background of the NCTM Standards? Where would Dewey agree with the NCTM Standards? Where would Dewey disagree with the NCTM Standards? There are four main sections comprising the body of this paper: the issue, the epistemology, the impetus for change, and the vision. The idea of standards, what does it mean to know, why change, and what are the related goals?