“A mile wide and an inch deep” is an oftenrepeated criticism of U.S. mathematics curriculum. In 2006, NCTM published Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence to suggest important areas of emphasis for instruction. Many states produced new standards that were informed by the book. However, Charles (2008/2009) argues that we must address not only the mile-wide issue, by reducing the number of skill-focused standards, but also the inch-deep issue, by making essential understanding more explicit. Charles suggests that many useful resources are available to deal with the latter.
Tad Watanabe, firstname.lastname@example.org, teaches preservice elementary school teachers at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is interested in and has examined various mathematics education practices in Japan.