State math standards are "a mile wide and an inch deep" and most fail to teach students how to think critically or even understand math enough to score competitively on international tests, writes Steven Leinwand, an American Institutes for Research principal research analyst and author of "Accessible Mathematics." To solve our math woes, he writes, a set of world-class national standards should be developed -- but not required -- that would add depth and conceptual understanding to math textbooks and classrooms.

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