Classroom Focused, Mission Driven
The Math Learning Center (MLC) is a nonprofit organization serving the education community. Our mission is to inspire and enable all individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability. We offer innovative and standards-based curriculum, resources, and professional development. Our products and services are used by educators throughout the United States and in many international locations.
From our inception, we have been committed to addressing the needs of classroom teachers and their students.
MLC grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the teaching of mathematics. The founders spent several years traveling to schools to observe classrooms and visit with teachers and students. Over time they developed a philosophy that emphasizes building a deeper understanding before engaging more abstract concepts. Motivated to continue creating new methods of math instruction, they established MLC as a nonprofit corporation in 1976.
A few years later a convincing body of research emerged suggesting visual approaches to teaching and learning have universal validity. MLC experimented with a variety of applications to math education and with additional funding from NSF refined the results into an integrated system of models that build across the grade levels.
Educators responded enthusiastically to this innovation and by the mid-1980s it became clear that teachers needed classroom materials to facilitate implementation. Since then the organization has expanded to include a full range of products and support services.
MLC was founded by Dr. Eugene Maier, Don Rasmussen, and David Raskin. At the time, Eugene Maier was a professor of mathematics at the University of Oregon, Don Rasmussen was the math specialist at the Oregon Department of Education, and David Raskin was curriculum director for the Beaverton School District.
Dr. Maier and Mr. Rasmussen remained active in the organization as co-directors until their retirement in 1998. Dr. Maier continued to contribute through his writing, including books, essays, and online materials. For more, see Dr. Maier's Article Archive.
Dr. Eugene Maier
Gene was a past president and co-founder of The Math Learning Center, and professor emeritus of mathematical sciences at Portland State University. Earlier in his career, he was chair of the department of mathematics at Pacific Lutheran University and later, professor of mathematics at the University of Oregon.
He had a particular interest in visual thinking as it relates to the teaching and learning of mathematics. He co-authored the Math and the Mind's Eye series and developed many of the mathematical models and manipulatives that appear in The Math Learning Center’s materials.
Gene directed fourteen projects in mathematics education supported by the National Science Foundation and other agencies, made numerous conference and in-service presentations, and conducted in-service workshops and courses for mathematics teachers internationally.
In 2018, The Math Learning Center established a foundation with a shared mission to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability. We named it the Maier Math Foundation in honor of Gene’s significant contributions to math education.
A co-founder of The Math Learning Center, Don’s career was devoted to education beginning with his years as a classroom teacher. He believed that all students could find meaning in mathematics, honored their thinking, and understood that learning math was more than memorizing procedures. He shared a passion for improving math education and believed in the power of visual thinking.
After serving as the state math coordinator for Oregon, Don brought his leadership skills to MLC. During his 30 year tenure he was in charge of operations and led the growing organization through several facility changes culminating in the construction of our current warehouse and office space in 1994. A man of many talents, Don designed the entire facility himself and oversaw each aspect of the project. As a tribute to his vision and dedication our building was named in his honor upon his passing in 2010.